The word “family” has many definitions. A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and a child or children. Two or more people sharing similar goals and values, having long-term commitments to one another, usually residing in the same dwelling. Or even a person or people having one or more “fur-babies”. You can find any of these definitions of family in the military.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend where I argued, “Being a military family is one of the most difficult types of families to be in.” The everyday struggles of being TDY or deployed can wear on your emotions as much as becoming head of a household suddenly or having to maintain grades when you’re on a roller coaster of emotions. In many cases, people make family of their brothers and sisters in arms or best friend; someone not related by blood but means just as much to them. Holidays are spent developing new traditions through diverse friend groups because the military lifestyle often puts distance between military families and your “blood” family. Military children may not always know their cousins, aunts and uncles because of the distance. But through it all, military families show their strength, loyalty and respect to one other which makes the everyday struggles worth it! You don’t always get to pick your family but, no matter how big, small, the race, gender, species, political views or religion, family is what you make it!
Below you’ll find a few MWR events or programs to participate in with your family for some much needed bonding!
April is dedicated to an often strong, but overlooked, link in the family; the military child. We celebrate Month of the Military Child (MOMC) and Autism Awareness Month each year to honor those that may otherwise go unnoticed. Kickoff the month with the kids enjoying some “me time” at Parents Night Out on April 13th. Follow up the fun evening out for them at the Splash -N- Dash, April 14th, for swimming and running. The month will conclude with a huge fun-filled weekend; the MOMC Celebration takes place April 27th, Earth Faire & Spring Flea Market on April 28th and a Pizza Bowl to wrap up the fun month of celebration with Dominos Pizza also on April 28th.
We continue the celebration into May with Army Strong B.A.N.D.S. honoring the extended family (not necessarily related by blood) in a healthy way. Strong B.A.N.D.S. — Balance, Activity, Nutrition, Determination and Strength — promotes garrison fitness and wellness programs available to soldiers, families, retirees and civilians. Run To Honor, on May 5th, ensures the memories of our fallen service members aren’t forgotten. The annual Volunteer Recognition Day event, on May 6th, recognizes the hard work put forth by the many volunteers on Fort Gordon. Military Spouse Appreciation Week, May 7th-11th, is geared to show appreciation to all the contributions and sacrifices made by spouses. Their commitment and support helps to keep our country safe by strengthening the military family.
As the weather warms up, get the family outdoors and take advantage of all the activities MWR offers. Take the kids fishing and show them a new hobby at the Kids Fishing Derby on June 2nd. Afterwards, relax that evening at the Outdoor Pool and Spray Park while the kids enjoy a PG rated Dive-In Movie. Allow the kids to learn outdoor skills such archery, kayaking and much more at Gordon Adventure Camp, June 11th-15th. To end the quarter, the biggest event of them all, the Independence Celebration on June 29th!
“I have the best family in the world! My spouse loves me unconditionally. My kids are my reason to thrive. If I call my brothers, they’d talk to me as long as needed. If I call my sisters they’d come see me with no hesitation. They’ll (my family) be there before I could end my sentence. Rolling up their sleeves to fight with me. Making me laugh, filling my heart with joy instead of tears. Willing to die for me as I would for them. No one can understand the bond of a military family.”