The 325th Force Support Squadron and the base Family Readiness Center gave military children the opportunity to experience what their parents go through when they deploy overseas during the annual Jr. Raptor deployment experience event held May 6 at the Tyndall Youth Center and Silver Flag Field here.
Jr. Raptor is a program that has been going on for over a decade, benefiting military children by providing educational and hands-on activities with what some of their parents do to support the Tyndall mission.
‘The Child Gets to See What Their Parent Does’
“The child gets to see what their parent does, but typically won’t get to see what other parents do,” said Rebecca Mroczkowski, 325th FSS community readiness specialist. “[Jr. Raptor] gives them an idea on how to talk to other children and understand what their parents do when they are gone or at work. It’s an eye-opening experience for them.”
More than 60 children, ranging from first grade to high school seniors, experienced a deployment out-processing line, learned military formation movements and watched a 325th Security Forces Squadron military working dog demonstration.
“It looks like it takes hard work to be in the military,” said Savion Dew, a Jr. Raptor at the event. “It was really fun to see how K-9’s attack people who don’t listen to security forces here, and is a good thing to know what will happen if you don’t.”
Approximately 30 volunteers painted faces, organized children into different age groups, and participated in physical exercise training and tug-of-war competitions.
“I heard good things about the event, so I decided to come out and support,” said Air Force Senior Airman Brittney Centers, 325th SFS response force leader and volunteer. “I recently got back from deployment and it was really fun to see the children experience this event.”