In 2013 &2014 the crew supported the Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors (COMCO) event at Camp Lejeune.

Our wish is to revive of our Mission Explore Outdoors event  for COMCO 2016!

Why? It is a pleasure to facilitate this  special event in honor of our youngest heroes – our military children. April is the Month of the Military Child!  Join us as we celebrate our nation’s youngest heroes.  April 2016, partners will join forces to connect military children with the outdoors. Together, we will honor their sacrifice as we explore and enjoy the lands they and their parents serve and have served to protect.

 Check out the 2014 Photo Album14072653732_3068ff3198_m

 2014 – Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors . Our adventure began with a barrage of challenges from our 13908576659_3ee4155676_mSierra Club coordinator being detained in Washington state, and the death of my  fuel pump in the fully loaded van 90 miles in to the 200 mile trip to Camp Lejeune. In classic style these challenges were overcome, with me experiencing a much needed six hour break in a lovely piney wood along highway 74. This theme carried through during the battle of the wind on lovely Onslow Beach Friday night. Our group finally conceded to the wind and agreed to attempt this task again in the morning when our troop numbers would be increased three fold. The morning came with light winds, and cooler temperatures for a quick and successful rally to be ready for the children and families to arrive. Onlsow Beach Recreation area staff treated us as if we were family – providing lodging, labor and a fantastic site. Dion & Lloyd you are truly appreciated!

The Mission to Explore the Outdoors challenge was received and met by over 250 participants. The children checked in and were given their mission, which they readily choose to accept, and sent to explore. Each exhibitor had a stamp for the children to earn higher levels of exploration.

Sturgeon City came with the great flounder petting tank and information about outdoor 13908577249_b02e2ca634_mactivities and their fabulous environmental education programming. Squeals of laughter and delight were heard as the children and family explored the opportunities to be outdoors.

14093220784_fe209eb8e6_mNext was the Sea Turtle Exhibit which included the nest beach protection, a skeleton, and a cool bag along with a great snake poster for the kids. Many families thought the display was live turtles that were just very still.

Thrifty Adventures was next, coming all the way from Charlotte, 14089550431_329f6c4e67_mto share the love of climbing and some super cool knots for our explorers to tie.

USMC MCCS Outdoor Adventures brought the 13928189510_624b6f4783_mrock wall and personnel to have the explorers conquer the climb. Happily, they provided gear so even the older kids (adults) could attempt the wall.

The North Carolina Sierra Club Outings leaders set up camp, literally with tents and gear.  The kids got to explore inside to see what camping would be like. They also participated in a game using a compass that was theirs to keep. The club also raffled off a family tent to one lucky family.

Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary 13908582829_5a96c113ed_zcame with Diana the coolest non-releasable marsupial around, along with a hawk, an owl, and wildlife information.

The North Carolina Zoos’ own education director drove down to share great fossils found in the state the kids were fascinated by a huge sharks tooth.

14072118846_1ac37ed8bf_qCamp Corral came to tell the families about their great programs that provide free camps for military children.

North Carolina USO brought the beautiful trailer and a beach scavenger hunt.  The group gave prizes including beef jerky to the kids.

The Play Mobile 14192305465_03ce7d54c2_mwas a great addition to the festivities, it could almost be a festivity of its’ own. Packed with mud for pies, sand playing equipment, hula hoops, fort building supplies and more the kids loved it! Some had never attempted a hula hoop before and were quite entertaining.

Our Explorers returned to the desk to share their successful mission completion to be met with prizes of a magnifying glass, cool shades, a flying disc, and kite. The high fives and smiles were overwhelming. These families and children who sacrifice so much for their country were full of graciousness and appreciation which was awe-inspiring. This opportunity to coordinate and facilitate this event has truly blessed my staff and myself in being able to honor our youngest heroes our military children.  We will be back!