Many of them are military wives.
They know firsthand what it is like to be away from their husbands and see their children coping with long deployments.
Their experiences have inspired the passionate crew to create two programs that help foster a stronger sense of community for the 46,000 service members and families at Fort Hood.
Their signature event for families, “Movies on the Lawn,” gives parents and their children the opportunity to enjoy a monthly movie on the big screen without the cost of tickets, food, and refreshments.
Director of USO Fort Hood, Robin Crouse, knows going to the movies is a luxury many military families cannot afford, and that was one of these reasons Crouse and her team were inspired to create the program last year.
Thanks to Crouse’s efforts, sponsors, and generous in-kind donations, USO Fort Hood is able to provide families a complete outdoor movie experience with popcorn, candy, nachos, sidewalk chalk, drinks, and more.
With so many components to this program, Crouse said it took some trial and error at first to work out the logistics of “Movies on the Lawn.”
But from the beginning, it was a treasure enjoyed by military families throughout Fort Hood.
It did not take long for news about the USO’s amazing program to spread. When the final movie aired last year, over 750 parents and children gathered to watch.
USO Fort Hood is excited to kick off their movie extravaganza this April, and they will continue playing movies into the fall.While “Movies on the Lawn” has been a wonderful success for military families, Crouse says there is one program that is the favorite of moms with preschool-age children – “Story Time.”
Held twice a month in the 1st Cavalry Soldier, Family Readiness Center, this program serves 50 families each session and has become so popular that USO Fort Hood has to keep a waiting list.
Created for pre-school children up to four years old, “Story Time” begins with a small breakfast of muffins and cheerios for everyone.
Then, a special guest reads the story out loud to the mothers and children, who have books in-hand to follow along.
Once the story is finished children have an activity or time to socialize together.
Crouse knows from her own experience as a military wife, that mothers and children need an outlet, and time away from their homes to socialize.
For military families at Fort Hood, “Story Time” is more than just a way to promote early reading.
It’s a time for military children and mothers to connect with each other and establish relationships with people who are going through the same struggles that come with the military lifestyle.
Like the many amazing USO programs around the world, USO Fort Hood’s “Movies on the Lawn” and “Story Time” are a prime example of the USO’s commitment to supporting our nation’s troops and their families.
For more pictures, visit USO Fort Hood’s Facebook page.
– Sarah Camille Hipp, Communications Specialist