News: Shadow of the Eagle volunteers for Barclay Elementary Fall Festival
Story by Sgt. Duncan Brennan
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Soldiers from 6th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), volunteered to help run Barclay Elementary's Fall Festival at Fort Campbell, Ky., Oct. 25, 2013.
The volunteering opportunity was to help the families who have children that attend Barclay Elementary enjoy the festival instead of running the events. The festival encompassed the entire school and included a basketball shootout, food, cotton candy, a disco, and a cake walk that soldiers from 6-101st CAB, Shadow of the Eagle, ran.
Most soldiers found out about the opportunity to work with children through their chain of command. The overwhelming sentiment was that the soldiers wanted to work with, and around children so they could impart things that they enjoy about life.
“I found out about this from my first-line supervisor,” said Pfc. Sarah Olson, air traffic controller, F Company, 6-101st CAB. “I showed up because I like working with kids. I get into teaching them how to use their imagination.”
The opportunity to work with children can be a morale booster. For soldiers whose families are far away, volunteering at an elementary school is a great way to feel connected with loved ones that are not living near their soldier.
“I have a 4-year-old daughter back in Georgia,” said Spc. Malcolm Dean, air traffic controller, F Company, 6-101st CAB. “I love working with kids. For me, it's a chance to be around innocence. Children laugh and have a good time, and that makes me feel great.”
Some soldiers gave up their Friday night to volunteer simply because it has become habit. Helping out with the community has become more than service, but a source of enjoyment.
“I volunteered before this past deployment to help the kids learn to read and that was a blast,” said Sgt. Carrington Walker, air traffic controller, F Company, 6-101st CAB. “Tonight was intended to just be legitimate fun with the kids since I don't have any yet.”
Through Walker's interactions with the children, he found out that the children had their own lessons to teach. By stepping away from his soldiers, he was able to get a different perspective on life and leadership.
“Kids live for the moment,” said Walker. “It helps me think in that same mindset; simply enjoying life for what it is. It helps me deal with my soldiers because it reminds me that not everyone learns the same way. The children help me remember that everyone is different, and will perceive things differently.”
Soldiers volunteer for their own reasons to help out, but it all keeps the Fort Campbell community vibrant. Volunteering at the fall festival is just the tip of the iceberg for Shadow - now that deployment is over, there will be more time to devote to strengthening the community.
“This is one of the first initiatives 6-101st CAB is doing to get back with our on-post sponsored school,” said Lt. Col. Dave Zimmerman, commander, 6-101st CAB. “We're here to develop a trust that we are here to support them in whatever they need us to do. I have 15 soldiers here supporting the fall festival on their own time, supporting Fort Campbell families and the children that attend this school to have a good time.”