Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- As the theater lights dimmed and the stage lights illuminated colorful Sesame Street props, Elmo and his Muppet friends bounded on to the stage at the Sunset Cinema, welcomed by the roar of children cheering and clapping. Once the crowd’s excitement was tamed, the Sesame Street cast began singing and dancing.
The USO Sesame Street Experience for Military Families visited Combat Center family members, June 24 and 25, 2016.
Marine Corps Community Services hosted the event. The Sesame Street tour started aboard the Combat Center in 2008 and travels to installations around the country. This year’s shows helped teach Combat Center children how to handle moving while in the military, and how to transition back from living on a military base using familiar Sesame Street characters like Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover.
“We travel around the country putting on these shows for the families of the military as a thank you for all the sacrifices service members have to make,” said Nicole McClendon, tour manager, USO Sesame Street Experience for Military Families. “One of the most difficult things for a child is to constantly move from one base to another. We wanted to try and help the children find ways to cope with the challenges that come with it.”
The tour group conducted two shows each day. The first show highlighted how to help with moving to a new base and learning how to handle the struggles that come with moving. The second show was themed on the unique struggles that come with a family that is transitioning out of the military and returning to a civilian life.
“The families that come to see these shows every year always ask to have them return,” said Eileen McCallum, special events program manager, MCCS. “Hosting this show gives the families with younger children the opportunity to come and see the characters of Sesame Street and learn how they can help their parents. Doing anything to help improve the quality of life aboard the installation is what we strive to do and the members of the USO are great at helping us do just that.”