Events

August 29, 2014

Thunderbolts laugh, dance, learn on Sesame Street

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Senior Airman DEVANTE WILLIAMS
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Cookie Monster, from Sesame Street, interacts with the crowd Aug. 19 during the Sesame Street USO Experience for Military Families performance at Luke Air Force Base. The show helped children understand that moving due to a permanent-change-of-station may be sad and difficult but keeping in touch with friends is fun and easy.

 
Elmo and friends visited Luke Air Force Base Aug. 18 and 19 to put on a show for families.

The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families helps children understand the process of moving with the family when a parent receives orders to a new assignment.

Elmo started the show by introducing the other Sesame Street characters while doing the “Elmo Slide” dance. He welcomed Cookie Monster, Grover and Rosita.

Katie, a 6-year-old girl who lives on Sesame Street, comes to the stage after Elmo’s dance and is very sad. She explains her dad got orders to move to another base and she is going to be leaving all of her friends.

Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street characters quickly jump to her aid, helping her understand friends may move, but keeping in touch is fun. Through song and dance they discuss writing letters, sending emails and even using the computer to video chat to keep in touch.

Madelyn Amos, 2, daughter of 2nd Lt. Tim Amos, 56th Operations Support Squadron, dances and claps while watching Sesame Street characters perform a minishow featuring Katie, a military kid on Sesame Street who is moving to a new place due to a parent’s permanent-change-of-station. The Sesame Street USO Experience for Military Families was held at the Luke Air Force Base Youth Center gym Aug. 19 and 20. The Sesame Street USO Experience for Military Families was created in 2008 to help service members and their families deal with the unique challenges they face, from deployments and homecomings to frequent relocations.‬‬

By the end of the performance Katie feels much better about having to move.

The United Service Organization and Sesame Workshop created Katie in the hopes that military children could relate to her.

“Our show is a way of letting our youngest military members know that we’re here for them,” said Nicole McClendon, USO tour manager. “We want to be by their side to help them make new friends and let them know that in the end it will be okay.”

The USO brings the show to bases throughout the world. It’s not easy to tour the globe and do set up every time, so Luke Airmen volunteered and assisted with building the stage and ensuring everything was set for the event.

“About 19 people volunteered to help,” said Tech. Sgt. Marsha Gonzales, 56th Force Support Squadron Career Development NCO. “We helped put up everything for the event, and we’ll help with packing up too.”

During the show children learned from and interacted with the characters. However, the children were not the only ones excited about the show.

“The show was perfect,” Gonzales said. “The volunteers enjoyed themselves and the children left the event with smiles on their faces.”
 

Excited children stand near the stage during The Sesame Street USO Experience for Military Families. The show helped children understand that moving due to a parent’s permanent-change-of-station may be sad and difficult but keeping in touch with friends is easy.




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