MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS ALBANY, Ga. -- Laughing and running, more than 300 children invaded Boyette Park when the Base community celebrated the Month of the Military Child April 17.
The festivities began with the children, parents and Marines lining up at the Child Development Center, starting point of the parade.
Children of all ages participated, ranging from those who were so young that they slept in strollers, to others who were running anxious to reach the festivities.
According to Lynn Willis, Children Youth and Teen Program administrator, the Month of the Military Child gives base personnel the opportunity to celebrate military children and show them they are appreciated. Many Marines are conditioned to deal with long deployments and a permanent duty station changes. Sometimes people forget that the Marine's family, especially their children, must find ways to deal with these situations as well.
The Albany Marine Band's melodies guided the parade through the parade route.
"I enjoyed the band's music and the way all the children marched together," said Cecilla Sims, whose daughter Nyeshia, attends the Child Development Center.
Many participants just like having a base event where families can enjoy each other's company.
"It's important for all of us to get together and celebrate children," said Allison Moore, a fund manager at Marine Corps Community Services. "Getting all the families together is important and we need to do this."
The festivities were also a chance to highlight some important topics dealing with children. Miss Albany, Kelley Bradshaw, was a special guest at the event who wanted to shed light on child abuse prevention.
"We need to make an important impact on kids," said Bradshaw.
According to Bradshaw, people need to strive to be positive role models for children.
"The more positive role models they have, the more likely that these children will grow up to be positive community members," said Bradshaw, who wants to make an impact on children.
Children also took part in activities such as face painting by members of the Officers' Spouses Club or playing on an inflatable castle. Others enjoyed the refreshments provided by Marine Corps Community Service.
Some said their favorite event of the day was seeing a Provost Marshal's Office military working dog demonstration.
Whether it was the parade or the games, many children and parents said they enjoyed the day.