Sesame Street/USO Tour Touches Over 150k Military Families Worldwide Since 2008!

Grover jumps for joy at Hicken AFB in Hawaii for just a few of the over 150,000 military families he's visited worldwide! (USO Photo)

The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families, a free traveling USO show based on Sesame Workshop’s award winning Talk, Listen, Connect initiative, hit a new milestone during their performance at Naval Station Mayport on June 10, having entertained and educated over 150,000 military families since it debuted in June 2008!

“The USO couldn’t be more thrilled with the impact that the Sesame Street/USO tour is having on our nation’s military community and with our ongoing partnership with Sesame Workshop,” says USO President and CEO Sloan Gibson.  “Touching more than 150,000 troops and their families is more that we could have ever hoped for and it lets us know that tours and programs like this are important. They do more than entertain, they lift spirits and provide vital tools that make it easier for military families to cope with the challenges of deployments.”

With the help of Elmo and his friends, military children learn about ways to deal with the hardships of deployments and separation from loved ones.  Military families in attendance experience a 25-minute character performance and receive giveaways and outreach materials.  To date, the tour has traveled over 50,000 miles to 90 bases in nine countries and 27 states, performing 237 shows for service members and their families.

Gary Knell, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop, has this to say about the tour: “The momentum that this show has gathered since it first performed for military kids and families is unbelievable. To see how families come together and then use the messages from the show to talk to their kids is the greatest reward that we could ask for. We at Sesame Workshop are thrilled to continue this work with our partners and friends at the USO and reinforce our commitment to military families.”

The tour is free for all military ID holders and is currently half way through a five-month summer leg.  Click here to see the full schedule and click here for a list of FAQs.

We hope you enjoy the video below, but before you watch, Elmo has a special message for you!  “Elmo is so excited to come and see all his military friends and family. We’ll sing fun songs and even learn something with Elmo, Rosita, Cookie Monster and Zoe. See you there!”

Get Your Sesame Street/USO Experience Group Photo Today!

Nearly 800 people braved the rains to enjoy the USO/Sesame Street Experience in Jacksonville.

Did you know that when you take your family to the Sesame Street/USO Experience tour there’s a group picture taken?  That’s right, we catch everybody having fun in photographic form.  Click here to see the group photos!

When you find your location, click on that photo, then click on “All Sizes” next to the magnifying glass directly above the image.  You can then download and save any size you want as a keepsake!

Please note: Photos are for personal use only and should not be reproduced commercially without express written consent of the USO.

“With You All the Way: Dealing with Deployment” is Now Available for Purchase!

We’re thrilled to announce that Trevor Romain’s “With You All the Way: Dealing with Deployment” is now available through Military OneSource!  We know that so many of you have been eagerly anticipating this release as much as we have.

Trevor himself penned a blog post for us awhile back, and had this to say about the DVD: “It deals with all stages of deployment; from pre-deployment, deployment, and re-integration. We teach the same main characters, Jack and Skye, how to help their buddies, Darrell, Brittany, and Pablo, deal with their families’ particular stage of deployment. Along the way, I interact with these animated characters and guide them through the story.”

The DVD is designed for children ages 6 through 10, but is equally valuable – and enjoyable! – for older siblings and parents.  We hope your family enjoy’s “With You All the Way” as much as we do and that it make deployments just a little bit easier.  Watch the trailer below!

Letters Back Home: Kid Edition

Today’s Letter Back Home isn’t quite that, but we knew we had to share it with you anyway.  It’s an actual letter that was written from a military child to Trevor Romain, one of our favorite people here at the USO.  His DVD “With You All the Way” is being shown to kids around the country and will be available on DVD at the end of the summer.  One young audience member was certainly touched by their viewing, and wrote Trevor to tell him how it changed her and her family’s life…

Military Kids Honor Troops with USO Care Packages

A military child writes a special note to be included in a care package during the Month of the Military Child event on April 10, 2010 at the Operation USO Care Package Warehouse on Fort Belvoir. (USO Photo by Mike Theiler)

Last Saturday at Fort Belvoir a group of volunteers congregated to stuff USO Care Packages.  This would ordinarily not be an unusual event…except this group was comprised of children 5 to 12-years-old!  These dedicated youngsters gave up their Saturday morning to stuff care packages that will be sent to service members currently deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

This second-annula event is part of an ongoing celebration of the Month of the Military Child, and was coordinated with support from the USO of Metropolitan Washington and the Military Health System.  We’d like to thank all of the kids who came out for stuffing care packages and for their service – they are all children of deployed and active duty service members.

Check out some pics from this fun day and click here to learn more about Operation USO Care Package!

Service members, military spouses and children assemble care packages for deployed troops in honor of Month of the Military Child on April 10, 2010 at the Operation USO Care Package Warehouse on Fort Belvoir. (USO Photos by Mike Theiler)

Service members, military spouses and children assemble care packages for deployed troops in honor of Month of the Military Child on April 10, 2010 at the Operation USO Care Package Warehouse on Fort Belvoir. (USO Photos by Mike Theiler)

Service members, military spouses and children assemble care packages for deployed troops in honor of Month of the Military Child on April 10, 2010 at the Operation USO Care Package Warehouse on Fort Belvoir. (USO Photos by Mike Theiler)

Siblings Aristotle, Sharday and Osirus Patrick hold up the special cards they created for deployed service members during the USO's Month of the Military Child care package event on April 10, 2010. (USO Photo by Mike Theiler)

Avon’s Sparky the Dog Helps Comfort Military Children as They Say Goodbye

Although she may be a little young to enjoy her Sparky the Dog now, this baby will have something from Daddy nearby while he's gone.

Saying goodbye to a loved one who’s deploying is never easy.  Robin Crouse, the Center Director at USO Fort Hood, thought she might have just the thing to provide the kids of those deploying a little something to remember Mom or Dad by.

Avon had recently donated dozens of their “Sparky the Dog” plush toys, and families were given one to ease the strain of separation.  Crouse had this to say about Avon, “They will be so pleased to see they brought smiles to the faces of so many kids at Fort Hood.”

We hope you enjoy this video of that day.  To learn more about Avon’s support of the USO, please click here.

more about “Avon“, posted with vodpod