News: USO, 'Sesame Street' visit K-Bay
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Marine Corps Base Hawaii families
attended the USO Sesame Street Experience for Military Families in the training auditorium of building 1090 Nov. 13 and 14, 2013.
During the first show alone there were more than 300 attendees. While many parents and children sat in the auditorium seats, others sat on the floor. Children played with red toys that spun and lit up in various colors around a figurine of Elmo in the center. Many also wore red, white and blue bandanas featuring the USO logo.
“I’d like to think that this is one live singing and dancing thank you
card that we take around the world to personally deliver to all our military families,” said Nicole McClendon, the USO tour manager. “We do this for them.”
Since its inception in 2008, the USO Sesame Street Experience for Military Families has performed more than 100 shows at military installations worldwide. The USO performance features song and dance by characters from the children’s TV show “Sesame Street,” including Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, Honker and Rosita.
While the show first dealt with deployment, the newest performance focuses on making a permanent change of station. In 2011, the show featured a new character named Katie, who is a military child, and exclusively appears in the military performances.
“Everybody wants to see Elmo, but Katie usually ends up being the star of the show at the end of it,” McClendon said. “(It’s) basically like (the military children) seeing themselves on stage.”
McClendon mentioned that the show began touring in the summer,
when many families were PCSing. She said families would watch the show at one installation, and see it again at their new installation months later.
“They loved it,” McClendon said. “Even though they’d already seen the show, I think they still get something different from it the second time.”
The children at MCB Hawaii were no exception, jumping up and down with wide smiles and raising their spinning toys high. Though Elmo is her favorite “Sesame Street” character, Kaitlyn Morales, 4, gave Grover a big hug during the performance.
As the performance ended, the children came to the front of the
stage and reached out their hands to the “Sesame Street” characters who showered them with furry pats on the head before leaving.
“It was an awesome first show for a 2-year-old,” said military spouse Naama Krauz, who brought her daughter to the show. “It certainly helps them understand what the military kids are going through (such as) moving and change.”
It seemed fitting for Jennifer Anderberg and her family, who recently PCS’d to MCB Hawaii. Anderberg said her daughter, Kailua, 3, was “dancing” and “following their motions.”
“I loved (the show), it was great,” said Jennifer Anderberg.
Through the USO Sesame Street Experience, she said her daughter
learned moving can be positive.
The performers will also visit Schofield Barracks Nov. 16 and Joint
Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Nov. 17. Families are encouraged to visit
http://uso.org/sesame. The website gives more information about the Sesame Street performance with character biographies and other resources for military families.