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)

First Lady Michelle Obama Calls the Sesame Street/USO Experience Her Favorite!

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks to the National Military Family Association Military Child Summit at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. May 12, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the National Military Family Association Summit in DC.  The focus of the summit was military spouses and children, and we’re thrilled to say that she cited the Sesame Street/USO Experience as her “favorite” partnership to support military kids!  Here is an excerpt from her remarks:

“One of the great lessons of recent years is that you don’t need to be a military expert to help. You don’t necessarily need to build something new to help. You can keep doing what you’re already doing and connect your work to the priorities of military families.  Consider the Sierra Club, which partnered with the NMFA to create Operation Purple — summer camps that have made a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of military kids. Or my favorite, Sesame Street, which has partnered with the USO to reach more than 100,000 military families and helped kids cope with some very challenging situations.

There are so many organizations with skills and interests that can be shared with military families, and we need to get them involved.

This is a challenge to every community in America.”  Click here to read a full transcript of the First Lady’s comments.

The Sesame Street/USO Experience continues touring throughout the US in 2010.  Below is the schedule for June.  Check with your base’s MWR for ticketing information.  We hope to see you there!

JUNE

Megan Noe poses with her son Henry in front of the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Militar Families poster at Natcher Gym on the Fort Knox Army base in Kentucky, April 10, 2010. (USO Photo by Pat McDonogh)

MCAS Beaufort – South Carolina – June 2 – 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; June 3 – 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

NSB Kings Bay – Georgia – June 5 – TBD

NAS Jacksonville – Florida – June 6 – 2:00 p.m.

NS Mayport – Florida – June 10 – 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Fort Benning – Georgia – June 12 – 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.; June 13 – 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Fort Rucker – Alabama – June 16 – 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; June 17 – 2:00 p.m.

NAS Pensacola – Florida – June 19 – 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.; June 20 – 2:00 p.m.

Keesler AFB – Mississippi – June 23-24 – TBD

NAS JRB New Orleans – Louisiana – June 25-26 – TBD

Fort Polk – Louisiana – June 29-30 – TBD

Dover AFB, Meet Elmo…

…and Grover and Cookie Monster and Rosita and Zoe!  The Sesame Street/USO Experience alighted in Delaware as part of their Stateside tour for Phase IV of this entertaining family show.  Check out the photo essay below:

Children of military families pose for a photo while awaiting the start of a Sesame Street/USO show at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 29, 2010. (USO photo by Mike Theiler)

Military family members were thrilled to see 'Elmo' and his friends sing, dance and perform just for them, as they continue a six-month tour of military bases in the U.S. (USO photo by Mike Theiler)

Dozens of military families military danced along - or just saw in awe! - as the Muppets of Sesame Street perform a show at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 29, 2010. (USO photo by Mike Theiler)

Children of military families get up close and personal with some of their favorite Sesame Street characters. Having previously visited military families in Asia, the Pacific and Europe, the tour is now visiting more than 40 bases in the United States. (USO photo by Mike Theiler)

Want to learn more about Dover?  Click here to watch a video about the USO Centers there, visit this blog post and read about the new Families of the Fallen Center, and learn more about USO Delaware director Joan Cote.