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    Hohenfels children, Families have inside, rainy-day fun at Kinderfest

    Painting of faces

    Photo By Bryan Gatchell | JOINT MULTINATIONAL READINESS CENTER, Germany -- Organizations from across U.S. Army...... read more read more



    Story by Bryan Gatchell 

    U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria

    JOINT MULTINATIONAL READINESS CENTER, Germany – Morning showers gave way to patches of sunshine and the smiles of military children during U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria’s Kinderfest April 15, 2023 at Hohenfels.

    Organizations from across Hohenfels gathered at the Child and Youth Services gymnasium and the School Age Center to provide military Families a fun time in celebration of April as Month of the Military Child.

    Outside, Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment and the Joint Multinational Readiness Center had their tactical vehicles set up as static displays as well as a UH-72 Lakota helicopter. They also flew a surveillance drone for the children. Inside, children had the opportunity to operate explosive ordnance disposal robots.

    In both locations, children enjoyed several inflatable attractions, including bounce houses with slides and obstacles, a ball pit, a Velcro wall, and a basketball court. Personnel handed out cups of popcorn, and the garrison Headquarters and Headquarters Company sold hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks.

    “The Kinderfest event is an opportunity for us to celebrate military children and their Families within our communities,” said Beth Natale, CYS coordinator at Hohenfels. “Despite the weather, we have had an excellent turnout.”

    An estimated 1,000 children, parents, service members and support personnel came out to the event.

    “April is the Month of the Military Child,” said Col. Kevin A. Poole, USAG Bavaria commander, during the signing of the MoMC proclamation. “I am a military child; this event as well as many other events we have going on across the garrison are something very near and dear to my heart.”

    Poole signed the proclamation, which extolled the great contributions military children make and will continue to make to their community, that they “honor the past, treasure the present, and shape the future by utilizing the lessons learned as part of a Military Family to make a positive difference in their own life, the lives of others, and the community.” The proclamation is a recommitment by leadership to provide the youth support, compassion and resources.

    “This is just a symbol of our dedication to providing quality service and support to our children, to ensure our children are safe, that we’re developing them properly,” Poole said.

    “During the month of April, we honor military children by giving back with the CYS Kinderfest,” said Christine McConnell, Parent and Outreach Services director for CYS at Hohenfels. “We have about 20 organizations from around Hohenfels – sponsors, volunteers and staff – that make this event possible. We had over 35 attractions to include military vehicles, the helicopter, jumping castles and carnival games at each booth as well as food for sale. The purpose of this event is to give back and also just to thank these kids for being part of this community.”

    As both fun activity and as a reminder of what services and support the garrison provides, several garrison organizations showed off what they had to offer. The Environmental Division of the Directorate of Public Works set up a rock-painting station. Military Police Soldiers had a station where they let children try on their gear, meet McGruff the crime dog, and walk an obstacle course with “drunk goggles” on. The fire prevention team let young children spray water at targets.

    Other organizations offered games, prizes and other giveaways. The American Red Cross had a prize wheel to spin. The Exceptional Family Member Program had a ring toss. Service Credit Union had a toy targeting game. The Hohenfels Community and Spouses Club had children’s books to give away. The library had a crafting station. The local Boy Scouts of America troop offered s’mores.

    Other organizations offered Families information in addition to the fun. The Hohenfels Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization was there to inform community members of their program. The USO, which recently opened a new location at Camp Albertshof, was there to support military Families. And, for military children thinking about their future, the University of Maryland Global Campus let participants know about their degree programs.

    Providing further entertainment during the event were several members of the SKIES Unlimited program (School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills). SKIES offers CYS-registered children’s classes with instructors to learn skills not typically offered through other school and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs. During the event, there was a guitar performance, a double dance routine and a karate demonstration.

    Daniel Higley, director of the SKIES program at USAG Bavaria, said participating in the event was a good way to let Family members know about the program so they can lend their talents as instructors.

    “We really need spouses and dependents to come share their talents,” he said. “My job is to get them a contract and to get them trained and to get them all the training they need. And we’re reliant on these people that are coming over from the states to utilize the talents of the community they go to. And we need them to make those programs work.”

    Besides the Kinderfest, other Month of the Military Child events taking place at Hohenfels included a photo shoot with the Easter bunny, storytime at the library and spirit week at the schools. Before the month ends, there will be an Exceptional Family Member Program Kindness Karaoke from 4 to 8 p.m. April 20 at the Army Community Service Family Center and Operation Megaphone Lock-in at the Youth Center from 6 p.m. April 28 to 7 a.m. April 29. All these events can be found at

    Furthermore, a host of events is set to take place at Grafenwoehr and Vilseck, which community members can find out about by visiting At Garmisch, there is a Month of the Military Child night scheduled to take place from 7 to 10 p.m. April 21 at the Youth Center (

    Natale added that CYS serves military children throughout the year and not just during April.

    “Of course CYS services in Hohenfels offers full-day child care,” she said. “Our Child Development Center, our School Age program, before and after care. We have summer camp that’s coming up for 10 weeks while the kids are out of school, they can come week-by-week for summer camp at either the School Age Program. And the youth program has open recreation for teens to give them an outlet during the summer as well so they’re not sitting around bored.”

    McConnell appreciated Kinderfest for its celebration of Hohenfels children.

    “Because of our small community, we see these faces everywhere we go, we see these faces when you go to the Commissary, we see these faces at the sports events, at the movie theater,” McConnell said. “Everywhere on post you’re seeing the kids, and now you’re seeing the kids in this capacity, having fun jumping on the castles and playing games and eating a hot dog. They’re doing everything here and they’re doing it with a smile on their face.”



    Date Taken: 04.20.2023
    Date Posted: 04.20.2023 09:33
    Story ID: 442964
    Location: HOHENFELS, BY, DE 

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