The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families 2012

New character Katie tells her friends she is moving during the 2011 Joining Forces: Sesame Street/USO Special Event. USO Photo by Fred Greaves

The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families – a free, traveling USO tour based on Sesame Workshop’s award winning Talk, Listen, Connect initiative – made its debut in July 2008 to help families deal with the unique challenges children of military parents face. For almost four years the tour has visited multiple states and countries, spreading their messages to troops and their families.

The tour is heading back out to the United States this April with some new wheels! The half-hour show focuses on the challenges of deployments and their impact on military kids. During the performance, Elmo and his Sesame pals will help Katie – a military friend relocating to a new place – open up about her fears and excitement in dealing with change and making new friends.  Created exclusively for this tour, Katie was first introduced last April by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden at a Joining Forces rally in Ohio.

But before these fuzzy, furry monsters get on their way, Sesame Street and the USO are reaching out to their fans via Facebook for help naming their new tour bus! Visit Facebook.com/SesameStreetForMilitaryFamilies to submit ideas for bus names and be sure to stay tuned to Facebook.com/theUSO for voting on the top picks!

Stop by USO.org/Sesame to learn more and see where the tour is heading next!

March USO Hot Jobs

Probably one of the best moments of my life was when I was offered a job at the USO. Being able spend my days doing what I can to lift the spirits of the troops and their families, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly… it really gives new meaning to the phrase “job satisfaction.”

Interested in working here at the USO yourself? Check out some of the great positions we have available right now:

  • Account Manager – Based in Arlington, VA, the Account Manager will cultivate, analyze, renew and expand relationships with key partners in order to raise revenue and/or in-kind donations that support USO programs and services.
  • Database Administrator – Based in Arlington, VA, the Database Administrator is responsible for database management, data integration, SQL reporting systems and report delivery, and USO business intelligence systems.
  • Director of Operations – Based in Okinawa, Japan, the Director of Operations will be responsible for operational leadership, direction and management of multiple financially viable, self-sustaining USO operations within the Pacific geographic region.
  • IT Coordinator – A part-time position based in Germany, the Information Technology Coordinator will work with and assist the USO Europe IT Systems Manager in monitoring, managing and maintaining the IT systems for USO centers located throughout the European Region.

You can learn more about these and other great opportunities to make a difference at USO.org/Careers. Maybe I’ll be seeing you soon! – Vyque Elessar, USO Director of New Media

USO Metro’s One Million Milestone

The USO of Metropolitan Washington (USO Metro) has achieved a major accomplishment in its commitment to serve our troops. In December of 2011, USO Metro surpassed the one million mark for the number of troops they have supported in its airport centers.

USO Metro began taking care of America’s troops and their families at airports when it opened its first center inside Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) in 1999.

Volunteers work at the BWI airport center.

The timeline below shows in detail how the USO Metro airport services have expanded over the years.

USO Metro’s Airport Centers Timeline

  • 1999: BWI opens doors to USO Metro’s first airport center
  • 2001: Reagan National Airport (Reagan) center opens
  • 2005: Andrews Air Force Base opens an information desk
  • 2007: Washington Dulles International Airport (Dulles) center opens
  • 2010: Andrews Air Force Base airport center opens

According to USO Metro’s Airport Services Manager, Pam Horton, the 15,000-square-foot BWI center is both the largest and busiest center because of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) flights that many troops travel on through BWI. The other airport centers primarily serve troops who are flying on commercial flights.

Like all USO centers, the BWI center has many amenities geared to create a comfortable and home-like lounge for our troops. The facilities at BWI’s center include a concession filled with food and drinks, a sleeping room, children’s room, computer room, lounge with television and comfortable chairs, and Xbox games.

While BWI is the largest location, USO Metro’s achievement is a celebration for each airport center and USO Metro’s airport services program.

The number of guests at each airport center shows how each location has contributed to USO Metro’s grand total of 1,020,211 troops and family members served.

USO Metro Airport Centers’ Guests from 1998-2011

  • BWI = 762,797
  • Dulles = 129, 936
  • Reagan = 84, 567
  • Andrews AFB = 42, 911
  • Grand Total = 1, 020, 211

USO Metro Airport Centers’ Guests for 2011

  • BWI = 71, 313
  • Dulles = 30,302
  • Reagan = 21,777
  • Andrews AFB = 42, 911

Horton, who was first a USO Metro volunteer at BWI, says the milestone would not be possible without the support each airport center receives from its committed volunteers. The four airport centers currently have a total of 715 volunteers on file, all of whom are committed to at least two shifts each month.

Similar to USO centers around the world, USO Metro and its volunteers have remained dedicated to serving our troops, one by one.

Congratulations to USO Metro and your volunteers on touching over one million troops and family members! - Sarah Camille Hipp, Communications Specialist 

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USO’s Magazine: ON★PATROL

Here at the USO, we strive to lift the spirits of our troops and their families in as many ways as possible. One of those ways is through the official magazine of the USO. ON★PATROL recognizes the service and sacrifice of our service men and women, their families, and the extraordinary efforts of the people and organizations that support them.

First published in the Spring of 2009, ON★PATROL is about those who serve, and those who serve them. With a wide range of articles reflecting the global reach of military support, ON★PATROL is published quarterly and provides not only inspirational stories, but also information and resources to troops to find programs available to them.

ON★PATROL shares the stories that all Americans should hear, taking readers on a journey with our military and the organizations that support them — from Afghanistan to Fort Bragg to San Diego to Landstuhl, Germany.

Samantha Quigley, managing editor of ON★PATROL, explains the importance behind the magazine:

Based on reader feedback in 2011, ON★PATROL has informed, inspired and educated our readers on military family issues, the invisible wounds of war and the way war fighting has changed for the United States since September 11. We offer stories on issues pertinent to today’s military in a way that’s relevant to the majority of our readers base while trying to ensure we salute the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who served in our nation’s earlier conflicts.

Just in time for Women’s History Month, the Spring 2012 issue of ON★PATROL looks at the way women’s role in the military has evolved since the Revolutionary War. Stay tuned to see what’s coming through the rest of 2012.

The Spring 2012 issue of ON★PATROL is available today! It features a look at “An Evolution of Service: Women in the Military” with articles like “Women on the Home Front in World War II,” “The Fight for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial,” and “Women at War.” The digital edition of ON★PATROL can be found here. Enjoy! – Joseph P. Scannell, New Media Intern