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Let’s Have some Summer Time Fun! Blue Star Museums and So Much More! DoD Blogger Roundtable

Military family on a nature trail
"I feel like I ran through this blog with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old playing baseball or soccer this summer!"

What is active living for the military family? It certainly must include activities across the reach of age, interest and new found geographic areas to explore after a PCS. Parenting can be a challenge before, during and after a PCS due to all the stressors impacting the whole family. But a fitness routine can help the whole family work through some of the stress involved in every day military life. A new trail, an old trail; a new workout routine, an old workout routine; a new family outdoor tradition, an old family outdoor tradition; new family projects, old family projects; even new family chores and old family chores can play a part of active living.

Want to get started with some ideas for the summer? Memorial Day is this weekend and we should remember those who have served and died for this great country in some manner but it is also the kickoff for summer! So let’s get started with some ideas from the leadership at DoD! Carol Potter and Eddy Mentzer from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy) spoke to the Blogger Roundtable concerning some great active living ideas that meet your budget. Many are free and others are low cost and yes, we did talk about some of the impacts of sequestration.  However, the emphasis is on positive programs that you, the military family and community can enjoy, while reducing household stress, improving the lives of your military brats and staying fit!


See below for photo credit
Kick it off with a hike in a National Park! Too far away, too expensive! Whoa, hold that horse (or take a ride on one if you have never done that). The America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is FREE for active duty families of airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines and coasties! It is also FREE for active (deployed) Guard or Reserve forces. Just go to any federal recreation area that charges an entrance fee and show them your ID card and they will give you a pass for one year! FREE (an $80 per person savings)! It is valid in so many facilities but read more details about it at America the Beautiful …. You get in FREE but facility use areas such as camping will have charges but have you checked the nearest installation MWR for camping equipment? They have lots of low cost rentals including pop up trailers, tents, camp stoves, etc. So we have gone from free to low cost and you just spent the weekend or week in a National Park, National Forest or Fish and Wildlife area and had the time of your life!

Look for this logo! See below for photo credit
But go back to no cost and a day trip! The Blue Star Museum program is in its fourth year and has now grown to over 2,000 museum partners that will open their doors to you for free all summer long! They have an interactive map that allows you to choose a location and find a participating museum during that long PCS trip or just a hot afternoon getaway for mom and the kids or maybe a dad and kids day to give mom some time off? Did I mention, that it is FREE! Please thank the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and participating museums for this program. 


How about some good news for those practical necessities as well! The Secretary of Defense has excepted child care centers from the impact of sequestration so there will be no reductions in service at the installation child care centers for all the working parents and for those new arrivals looking for care while settling into their new homes. However, many fitness centers have or will see an impact with reduced hours based on furloughs of civilian personnel. This will vary from installation so it is best to check with the post, base, station or camp MWR leadership where you are located or inbound to for exact details of new hours.

Let’s go back to that ITT/ITR/Ticket Office for some specials too (remember that trip to Disneyworld we took in March where we purchased tickets at the Orlando ITR ticket office?). Why not catch a theme park enroute to your next PCS location or find a weekend getaway at the office with military reduced ticket prices. Read ahead warning: Some of the theme parks can still be expensive even with a military discount! But there are many other ticket offerings that are great deals to less popular venues that you can not find unless you stop by the office and check them out!

Of course, an active lifestyle, also engages the mind so jump into a summer reading program at your installation library! The theme this summer is very appropriate, “Have Book, Will Travel” and it is 6 weeks long. Military One Source has an online library as well!

They have not forgotten any of the ages with many programs at the installation youth centers and even camps that can be booked through youth centers or Military One Source. Give Military One Source a call at 800 342 9467 for more details.

I feel like I ran through this blog with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old playing baseball or soccer this summer! Almost breathless it would appear! A big shout out to DoDLive for arranging for this Roundtable (if interested, you can listen to an audio of the Roundtable as well).  Many blessings to the leadership for working so hard to take care of our military families! Stay active, stay healthy and have a great summer! 


Read more from Col K by clicking on the image!



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Photo Credit:  MilitaryAvenue.com
Photo Credit:  America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass http://store.usgs.gov/pass/military.html
Photo Credit:  Blue Star Museums http://www.nea.gov/national/bluestarmuseums/index2013.php
Photo Credit:  MilitaryAvenue.com

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