Story and photo by Paul Long, FLEACT, Yokosuka Public Affairs
Grover, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Katie, Rosita, and the Purple Honker of Sesame Street visited Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Sept. 17 and 18, to perform for the children
of military families living here and to bring them a special message.
Nicole McClendon, USO tour manager for the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families, said the show is a 30-minute musical geared toward young children.
The songs and dance routines focus on Katie, a military child in the show whose family is about to move to a new base.
McClendon also said the show developed from Sesame Streets’ Talk, Listen, and Connect DVD series, where Elmo followed military families and talked to them about their experiences.
“In 2008, we did our first show which focused more on deployment and how that affected kids,” said McClendon. “In 2011, we introduced the character of Katie, and she’s PCS-ing, which is something that every military child goes through at some point. (The show) is a great way for families to learn to talk about it.”
The characters in the show, via song and dance, help Katie to figure out how to keep in touch with her friends at her old location, and how to make friends at her new base.
McClendon said that even though the show is geared towards children in the 2 to 6 age range, the show is for all children.
“It’s something that every military child can relate to,” said McClendon. “I’ve had 13- and 14-year-olds come up to me and tell me they really enjoy the show.”
McClendon also said the show is one live “Thank You” card to military families and Sesame Street helps them deliver that card.
Kristen Nelis, a Navy spouse, brought her two children, Maggie and Regis, to see the show.
“We’re big fans of Sesame Street and we want to support the USO,” Nelis said. “We had a great time and the kids really enjoyed the dancing and singing.”
Brandy Santa-Maria, brought her daughter to see the show with the Nelis family.
“It was great,” Santa-Maria said. “It was well worth the wait and my daughter had a great time.”
For more information about the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families, go to http://www.uso.org/sesame on the Web.