Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Not even a rainstorm and unexpected power outage could stop the Sesame Street / USO Experience for Military Families tour from bringing their message of hope and friendship to Combat Center kids Wednesday and Aug. 23, 2012.
The free-of-charge show, which is the USO’s longest running live show, features many of the beloved characters from the hit children’s TV show and focuses on issues that directly impact military kids.
“Sesame Street knows kids; the USO knows military families,” said Lonnie Cooper, tour producer, USO. “It’s a fantastic partnership.”
As of last year, there is one very special new friend on the show, named Katie. Katie is a military kid worried about an upcoming move when her family gets orders to another base.
“One out of every three military families is going to move this year,” Cooper said. “This is a resource for families to help deal with one of the biggest challenges of military life.”
The other Sesame Street stars help Katie discover how to turn this potentially scary experience into an adventure during several song-and-dance routines. She learns how to make the move more fun, how to keep in touch with friends she’s leaving behind and how to make new friends when she gets to her new home.
“The age group we target is the age when kids start learning to make friends,” Cooper said. “We want them to know that they are not alone. The cool thing about the military is you get to live all over the planet and have friends everywhere.”
Katie’s story is one every military kid experiences, and she was the crowd favorite as the curtain drew on the end of the show.
“Walking in, the favorite is almost universally Elmo,” Cooper said. “Walking out, so many kids say Katie is their favorite because they know exactly who she is and what she’s going through. They live it.”
Cooper’s thoughts were echoed by more than one exiting audience member.
“I loved it,” said Jacqueline Kumher, age 6. “Every time she gets somewhere, she has to move again. I understand it because we do it a whole bunch of times.”
The tour began in 2008 and has reached more than 248,000 military families on 131 bases in 33 states and 11 countries since then. It is scheduled to visit 68 bases during this year’s April-to-November touring season. The group averages two-to-four shows per base, and is expecting to perform more than 200 shows total this year. The Combat Center was the first stop during the 2008 tour, and the cast members said they were excited to be back.
For more information on the Sesame Street / USO Experience for Military Families tour or for tips on how to help your child through the difficulties of frequent moves, visit http://www.uso.org/sesame/.