MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Families and friends embarked on the first session of the “In the Park” series held at Riseley Field, April 2.
The series offers free activities at the field each Tuesday in April, sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services. “In the Park” recognizes several observances for the month: Child abuse prevention, autism awareness and celebrating children of military families.
“We began brainstorming early this year and Dr. Seuss entered the picture,” said Estella Euclide, a program specialist with the base’s Marine and Family Services office. “Everyone loves Seuss books. ‘Would you? Could you?’ came to mind (from the book ‘Green Eggs and Ham’) and so was born the ‘Would You, Could You, In the Park’ series. Hosting all these events in the park just felt right.”
This week’s theme was “Music In the Park” and featured live music from Val Vasquez, the lead singer of local band Island Storm.
Several activity stations featured a musical theme. Children crafted and decorated their own music shakers to take home. A variety of child-size instruments was available for them to play, including a Japanese pellet drum, gong and sleigh bells.
Samantha Dean, a spouse of a Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 3, attended with her two children. Dean said the event was set up in an ideal location where she could help her daughter with her homework and let her family individually explore each station.
In addition to enjoying the activity stations, attendees of every age brought blankets and picnic snacks to enjoy at the concert. Jennifer McKinstry and her family attended “In the Park” while her husband was away for training. She said the open space was nice for her children to safely play and dance with others.
“I like having something we can do in the evening for fun, then go home easily to get ready for bed,” McKinstry said. “With something fun to do, they’re not worrying about dad, they’re just having fun.”
Cierra Slack, who came with her 7-month-old son and husband, said the timing for the event was ideal.
“For us, it was nice to get out and about to meet new families,” she said. “We got to see what some of the programs on base offered, and you can’t beat having live music outside.”
Many who attended said they also wanted to meet and socialize with other families who live on base. Euclide said the event was also intended for new families to meet each other in a calm environment.
“We truly intend for ‘In The Park’ to be an easy-going, relaxing series of events,” Euclide said. “We want parents and children alike to be able to unwind, to just relax. So we encourage families to bring chairs or a blanket and even a picnic to enjoy.”
She said MCCS staff would also be available for each of the “In the Park” sessions, ready to answer questions about available programs and upcoming events.
They will meet you in the park, they will meet you before dark. They will always meet you with a kind remark.
“In the Park” will be available every Tuesday in April at Riseley Field from 4 to 6 p.m.