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Mobility Day gives kids a taste of military service

Montana Air National Guard C-130 Hercules Loadmaster Master Sgt. Steven Jager helps a young family member of a Montana National Guardsman feel the weight of a parachute during a tour of the transport aircraft. Eleven children of Guard families were participating in Kids Mobility Day at the 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls, Mont., Aug. 20, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

Montana Air National Guard C-130 Hercules Loadmaster Master Sgt. Steven Jager helps a young family member of a Montana National Guardsman feel the weight of a parachute during a tour of the transport aircraft. Eleven children of Guard families were participating in Kids Mobility Day at the 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls, Mont., Aug. 20, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

A group of children whose parents are members of the Montana National Guard pose in front of a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft following a tour of the aircraft. The children were participating in the Kids Mobility Day at the 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls, Mont., Aug. 20, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

A group of children whose parents are members of the Montana National Guard pose in front of a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft following a tour of the aircraft. The children were participating in the Kids Mobility Day at the 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls, Mont., Aug. 20, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Eleven children of Montana National Guard members got the chance to see what their parents experience while serving in the military during the Kids Mobility Day held at the 120th Airlift Wing Aug. 20.

The event provided the youngsters a four-hour mini boot camp with activities that included instruction in medical readiness, physical fitness training and a tour of a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

"For the medical station we had some medical members come over and show the kids how to make a sling," said MTANG Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager Paige Held. "They also went over some information that would be helpful in an emergency."

During the basic training station the children were instructed on marching, rolling T-shirts and socks, and saluting. An Airman also shared information on what it means to be a member of the MTANG Honor Guard.

"This year was actually our first year for mobility days and we worked with youth programs to educate military kids on what their parents or guardians are militarily involved with while they're apart," Held said. "That could be during a deployment, (temporary duty) or also just during the work week."

Held said she received great feedback from the kids and their parents at the conclusion of the first Kids Mobility Day.

"From the beginning to the end they were actively involved the entire time," Held said. "They were really excited to be on the base and going through all the different stations."

The program serves children from Guard families aged five to nine years old. This first year the program attracted 10 children of Air National Guard parents and one child of a Montana Army National Guard parent.

"I think it's important to involve the children in the events so they can get a sense of being a part of something bigger," Held said. "It also hopefully provides them with information to help them with any of the stressors or worries they have about their loved one being away, whether it's for a short amount of time or during a long deployment."

Held said offering the children this experience helps the program fulfill its mission of building upon the military community by providing an outreach through family activities.

The Airman and Family Readiness Program office now focuses on preparing for the holiday party scheduled for Saturday of the December unit training assembly. The annual event features toys and games for the children. Held would like to see the maximum participation among Guard personnel and their families.
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