MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- Members of the base community came out Aug. 3 to celebrate National Kids Day, a day for parents and guardians to celebrate their children.
This was the first year the base participated in the annual program, which partner national and local youth-serving organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs and the base's Children, Youth and Teen Program to make National Kids Day a reality. The day is annually scheduled for the first Sunday in August.
Last year everyone in the Boys and Girls Clubs who participated in the event received a tremendous amount of positive feedback and personnel who coordinate the Children and, Youth and Teen Program felt it was important for the base to get involved this year.
Paula Caserio, event organizer and director of the Family Childcare and the Youth and Teen Programs, said the event motivates parents and guardians to focus on their children and the importance of their children's lives. The goal of the program is to celebrate children through meaningful time spent together.
"This was just like a birthday, a special time to make it a special day to let children know that we love them as parents, and that time with them is very valuable to us," said Caserio.
According to the National Kids Day Web site, research indicates that children who spend quality time with adults develop purpose, a sense of belonging and a positive self-image. To help with this, National Kids Day puts the spotlight on children and on activities children enjoy.
Children were treated to a variety of activities such as being able to dunk various leaders of the base community such as the battalion commanding officer, Maj. Bryan Lucas.
"We had a variety of activities to benefit every age child," said Caserio, who explained that the benefits were not limited to the children.
Parents walked away from the event with information on gang awareness, drugs and tips for improving their parenting skills. Parents were also able to learn how to keep children busy and how to become involved with the local school system.
More than half the people who helped with the celebration came from the local community, including Capt. Kevin Sproul of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Department who handed out pamphlets on gang identification.
"It helps the base community see what is out there in the local community, such as the kind of programs to put their kids in and activities to do together," said Lucas.
Other participating organizations included the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Wild Adventures, Girls Scouts of America and Kids Peace.
The Children, Youth and Teen group, Teen Supreme, was on hand showing their cooking talents by serving up hot dogs, chips and other refreshments to raise money for the program.
"The goal is for military and civilian parents to see what Albany has to offer for families, and for families to see how valuable their time together is and to spend more quality time with one another," said Caserio.
After eating, attendees had the opportunity to view some of the fastest and most furious cars in Albany at a car and truck show.
Whether it was tossing footballs or putting golf balls, the event had something for everyone.
Although, the event was successful, Caserio feels people should focus on their children. Making a habit of spending quality time together and doing fun activities both parents and children enjoy will lead to better results all around, she said.