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PHOTO CAPTION:  Jamie Williams, Dickerson Park Zoo handler, presents a male golden eagle at the Youth Center on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., April 1, 2013. Golden eagles use their agility and speed, combined with powerful talons, to snatch up a variety of prey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

April 16, 2013
By Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry

ST. LOUIS - Every April the Department of Defense celebrates the Month of the Military Child. During this month, the DOD recognizes the support of, and sacrifices made by, military children across all services.

Since 1983, the DOD has recognized military children for the support they provide to their families, said Connie Morton, Youth Center lead recreation specialist. Overall, there are approximately 1.8 million children of airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guard personnel.

"Military children are an important part of their military parents because they stand by them, they're proud of them, they recognize their sacrifices and they take on additional responsibilities to assist with the needs of their families,” said Morton.

There are many upcoming events at the Youth Center that will bring joy, laughter and happiness to families.

The Youth Recognition Ceremony is a free event April 19, 2013, from 4-5 p.m., for ages 13-18. Sign up for the event by April 17, 2013. This event recognizes youth for the different programs they participate in at the Youth Center.

The Month of Military Child Family Fair is a free event that will be held from noon-6 p.m. at Ike Skelton Park, April 20, 2013. There will be bounce houses, free food, a petting zoo, carnival booths with prizes and more!

Additionally, America’s Armed Forces Kids Run begins at 8 a.m. at Ike Skelton Park May 11, 2013. Sign-ups for the event begin on April 22, 2013. This is an annual event offered to youth that focuses on fitness and fun.

“The Youth Center is a good place for children to come and have fun”, said Morton. “Kids learn, socialize with their peers and take part in activities and programs.”

Summer calendars will be available for pick-up at the Youth Center on April 27.

For more information on events or to participate in any activities/clubs, please contact the Whiteman Air Force Base Youth Center at 660-687-3198.