This Thanksgiving, many of us are missing our family and friends. For the safety and greater good of all, we're staying home and physically distant. And although we're together in spirit, it sure would be nice to celebrate the season with hugs and laughs and giving thanks in person.
For military families, this is often the reality every day - not just in a pandemic. Deployments, frequent moves, and demanding schedules mean that time together with family and friends can be hard to come by...but all the sweeter when it's possible.
Take some of the stories families shared with us during our recent USO Day, when members of 25 military families from Maryland and Virginia visited Port Discovery to enjoy a free day of play - made possible by our generous donors and supporters.
- One family had moved to Ft. Meade in the Spring of 2020, arriving just as schools and businesses were shutting down, and quarantine orders were going into effect for families everywhere. For them, their visit to Port Discovery was the very first family outing they were able to enjoy since moving to the area. They enjoyed playing and spending time together, as well as meeting other military families that were new to the region and dealing with similar situations.
- One mom told us that her family had relocated multiple times, sending them to cities all over the United States. They'd visited many Children's Museums along the way, enjoying opportunities to play, learn and explore. Upon visiting Port Discovery, they reported that Port Discovery was one of a kind - and one of the best experiences they had enjoyed.
- Several families took advantage of opportunities to record storybook readings and send them to family members as part of the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program. More than a dozen families took part in the activity, sending recordings to family members stationed as far away as Singapore, as well as to family members that they wouldn't be able to see over the holidays.
At Port Discovery, we want to make it easier for military members and their families to spend and enjoy time together. We do so by offering a Military Access Program that brings active duty, veteran, and retired military members and their families to enjoy Port Discovery for free or significantly reduced prices - and that brings play and learning to children and families stationed at nearby military bases.
But our Military Access Program - and the memories it makes possible - would not be possible without the support of donors, funders, and other supporters who believe in the power of play, learning, and discovery - and who help us make it possible for children and families everywhere.