Phase IV of the Sesame Street/USO Experience Ends on a High Note

Kids giggled and parents snapped photos of the costumed characters during the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families show at Ft. Knox, KY, on April 18, 2010. (USO photo by Pat McDonogh)

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of the military families who came out to join us for the Sesame Street/USO Experience this year!  From April to September, from North Carolina to North Dakota, this tour extended its run as the longest-running entertainment tour in USO history.  We couldn’t do it without the support of Sesame Workshop and VEE Corporation, and all of you who attend the performances.  Some fun facts from Phase IV:

  • 43 Bases visited
  • 139 Shows performed
  • 15,700 Miles traveled
  • 552,956 Giveaways received
  • 72,054 Service members and families attended

Altogether – since the beginning of Phase I on July 8, 2008 – the tour has visited 90 bases; performed 315 shows; traveled through 9 countries; logged 61,242 miles; given away 1,455,029 goodies; and entertained 192,650 service members and their families – way to go!

USO-Metro Opens New Center at Dahlgren!

Preparing to officially open the new Dahlgren USO Center at Naval Support Facility Dahlgren are (l. to r.) Mariellen Curtis, the center's manager; John Marselle, board chairman for USO of Metropolitan Washington; Caitlin Uze, Miss Virginia 2010; Capt. Catie Hanft, commanding officer for Naval Support Activity South Potomac; and Elaine Rogers, president of USO-Metro. (Photo by Gary Wagner)

USO of Metropolitan Washington recently opened a new center at Dahlgren Navy Base in Virginia and one of the highlights is the inclusion of a Sesame Street Room!

The Sesame Rooms project is an exciting extension of Sesame Workshop’s ongoing Talk, Listen, Connect program for military families and the one at Dahlgren will be completed within the next few months.  “The challenges our military and their families face today have never been greater,” Elaine Rogers, president of USO of Metropolitan Washington, explained during the opening ceremony.  “With this center, we hope to make a positive change in that process. We will do it through laughter, through activities and amenities and in ways the USO is known for bringing joy into people’s lives.”

One guest in particular stood out from the crowd of over 100 in attendance: Miss Virginia 2010, Caitlin Uze.  ‘‘All of America understands that because of what you do, we enjoy the freedom we have today,” said Uze in expressing her appreciation for the U.S. armed services.  ‘‘I take every opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to our military personnel and their families for the sacrifices they make for all of us.”

Other amenities at the Dahlgren USO Center include a TV area with movie library, free wi-fi throughout the building, computer stations with Internet, a gaming area with Xbox 360, and much more!  If you know of Troops and families traveling through this area, we invite you to let them know about this great new facility.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the Sesame Street Room.  In the meantime, click here to see what a difference the Sesame Room at McGuire AFB made for military families…and let us know what you think!

The Sesame Street/USO Experience Heads to the Lone Star State

Five year old Seth Fasnacht (C) and other children gather near the stage at the end of the show to touch Elmo and the other characters. Fasnacht's father is a chaplain at the NAS. (Mark Matson for USO)

The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families continues its Stateside tour…deep in the heart of Texas!  Military kids and their families enjoyed another fun-filled show, jam-packed with music, songs, and life lessons along the way.  We’re bringing you the latest pictures, from Corpus Christi, and encourage you to visit our Flickr set for more group shots from many of the Stateside tour stops.

The Washington Times recently reported on the tour, and the impact is has on military families: “The message has been helpful; [my kids] came up talking about their feelings,” said Luelisse Torres-Rodriguez, a mother of two whose husband is a major in the Army, often deployed for one to six months at a time. Her family went to the 25-minute show twice at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., which “made [the children's] day,” she said.  “And it let me become a kid, too.”

Click here to see the full schedule for 2010 and check below to see if we’ll be in a town near you in July!

Fort Bliss – Texas – July 10 – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.; July 11 – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Cannon AFB – New Mexico – July 14 – 3:00 p.m.; July 15 – 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Fort Hood – Texas – July 17 – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.; July 18 – 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Tinker AFB – Oklahoma – July 21 – 2:30 p.m.; July 22 – 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
McConnell AFB – Kansas – July 24 – 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Fort Riley – Kansas – July 28 – 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; July 29 – 10:00 a.m.and 6:00 p.m.
Peterson AFB – Colorado – July 31 – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

A young fan reaches for a "high five" from Cookie Monster at the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families on July 3, 2010 at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. (Mark Matson for USO)

Two year old Mario Matinez reaches out with his toy. He and his brother Victor and mother Marlene attended the show. His father Victor Matinez is serving in Afghanistan. (Mark Matson for USO)

It's fun for the whole family as (L-R) Tiara Mitchell (5), Macayla Elmore (3) and Aniya Elmore (6), play with their Sesame Street toys while waiting for the show to begin. (Mark Matson for USO)

Six year old Hailey Brown waves a big "hello" to Zoe - as always, wearing her beloved tutu - during the performance. (Mark Matson for USO)

Seven year old Lupita Vargas ties a USO bandana around her head as she gets ready for the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families was presented July 2, 2010 at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. (Mark Matson for USO)

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.

Camp Lejeune Welcomes Sesame Street!

The Sesame Street/ USO Experience is currently touring Stateside, with the latest stop at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.  Take a look at all the fun!

The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Miilitary Families recently visited troops at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, May 22, 2010. In addition to the 25-minute live performance featuring muppets Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, Rosita and Zoe, families were provided resource materials and giveaways like these twirly lights. (USO Photo by John Althouse)

Military kids line-up for a chance to meet their favorite muppet (and grab a quick hug) at The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, May 22, 2010. (USO Photo by John Althouse)

(R) Congressman Walter B. Jones stops by to show his support for military families during the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families tour at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, May 22, 2010. Also on hand, was (R) Colonel William Meier (retired USMC) and muppets (L-R front) Cookie Monster, Elmo, (L-R back) Rosita, Zoe and Grover.

Military families at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina gear up for the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families, May 22, 2010. (USO Photo by John Althouse)

Cookie Monster waves to a tiny fan as part of The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, May 22, 2010. (USO Photo by John Althouse)