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593rd SB hosts boot camp for kids

Brigade brings kids, families out for day of fun

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The sun was out in full force last week, which made it a perfect time for outdoor fun along with a little boot camp.

More than 90 children participated in the 593rd Sustainment Brigade's second annual Boot Camp event, held July 19 on Seay Field on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Many of the children who participated have a parent who is deployed or getting ready to deploy.

Linda Custodio, the 593rd Family Readiness Support Assistant (FRSA), helped organize the event.

"Today is an opportunity for the kids to get a little taste of what mom or dad do for a living and have fun doing it," she said.

When the children arrived for the event, they were given a colored shirt to coordinate which "company" they would be in for the day, which was based on their age. There were several military vehicles on hand, and children had a chance to see some of them in action. The young participants also took part in a morning physical training (PT) obstacle course and had an opportunity to swing on ropes and run through tires.

When it was time for lunch, kids had a chance to try a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) - the same type of meal that a Soldier might eat while out in the field or during a deployment.

After lunch, the JBLM Military Police unit brought out its working dogs to give a demonstration about how the dogs assist Soldiers.

"It has been a really fun day. I liked seeing the military dogs and seeing what they do," said Liam Henry, son of Lt. Col. Douglas Henry, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion commander, and his wife Patty.

The U.S Martial Arts Center (USMAC), which has supported the brigade in the past, gave a demonstration on verbal judo. The kids were given a lesson about how to deflect bullying by using words instead of getting physical.

Also on hand was the JBLM Fire Department with its fire trucks, which helped make the day fun for the kids.

To further help the kids get a sense of what daily life is like for their military mom or dad, they marched in line to and from the various activities. Jennifer Ramella, wife of 593rd Special Troops Battalion executive officer Maj. Stephen Ramella, brought her own children as well as her neighbor's children to the event.

"I think this was a great way for the brigade to show us that we're important, too," she said. "Sometimes the kids wonder where dad goes, so now they kind of have an idea of what he does."

After completing all the of the day's events, the children lined up - perhaps a little exhausted - in order to hear the closing ceremonies. Each child was given a certificate of completion, but the day was not complete until well-deserved treats of snow cones and popcorn were served after the closing ceremonies.

Custodio hopes that the children who took part came away from the event with an insight as to what their parents do on a daily basis.  Parents, event organizers, and volunteers hope that events like the boot camp will continue to create strong military families.

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