KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
The 173rd Fighter Wing STARBASE program and Airman and Family Readiness Center provided children of Kingsley Field Airmen an afternoon of hands-on learning designed to be interactive and fun. More than 30 children took part in the third annual Kingsley Kids’ day, April 6, 2019.
April was designated by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in 1986 as the Month of the Military Child. With that in mind, STARBASE chose to honor the sacrifices children of Kingsley Airmen make in support of their parents for the third year in a row.
The children spent the morning participating in experiments such as creating a weight-bearing bridge using only gumdrops and toothpicks. Later in the day, each bridge was placed over a span and successively weighted to see which design supported the most weight—a lesson in applied physics and structural engineering disguised as a fun, hands-on competition.
Preparation for this event began in September of last year with a theme of “Confidence and Engineering” said Alesha Earnest, the Kingsley STARBASE director. She characterizes the message she hopes these Kingsley Kids take away saying, “You matter! Without your support, your parents wouldn’t be able to do what they do, help how they help, and protect as they protect,” she said.
For Earnest and the other STARBASE teachers it’s a chance to connect specifically with the extended Kingsley Field family.
“I feel that bringing the kids of our families out here is a good way to get to know them over the years and form a relationship, which is something that we don’t get to do with the STARBASE curriculum alone, when we only see a student for a total of five days,” said Laura Gibson, one of the STARBASE teachers.
After the classroom experiment section the staff and children joined the Race to Zero just outside the base gates and they all ran one mile before heading to the base theater for a ceremony to honor each individual child.
Lt. Col. Julius Romasanta, the 550th Fighter Squadron commander, presented each of the children with a coin and a salute. “The sacrifices you make are real in support of your parents, and we want to thank you for that,” he said during his remarks to open the ceremony.