Military families brought together during Easter “Eggstravaganza” events
CAMP SMEDLEY D. BUTLER, OKINAWA, Japan -- “Ready, set – go!” blares from the speaker as children dash around a field to scoop as many Easter eggs as possible and quickly deposit them into their baskets before scouring the area for more.
Similar scenes played out several times as children participated in Easter egg hunts April 13 at Roberts Field on Camp Kinser, and April 19 outside the commissary on Camp Courtney and the Semper Fit Soccer Field on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Regiments 35 and 37 came together on Camp Kinser to host an Easter egg hunt, which family readiness officers organized for families of the regiments, according to Maralyn I. O’Brien, the FRO with CLR-37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“The event puts smiles on kids' faces, and provides an opportunity for Marines and sailors of the barracks to connect with families,” said O’Brien. “The event was all about having fun and spending time with the community.”
Events like these help Marines and their families enjoy the holiday while overseas and away from family, according to Col. Edmund J. Bowen, the commanding officer of CLR-37.
“Everybody is forward-deployed, including our families,” said Bowen. “When we come around to these holidays, you start to think about family back home in the states. The young kids don’t have their grandparents, their aunts and uncles or their cousins that they would normally interact with on these holidays. It’s very important that we bring these events together here to celebrate these holidays, so that it’s memorable.”
All three events were organized similarly. The main feature was the Easter egg hunt, which was separated by age group to make it fair for all the children.
In addition to the egg hunts, each event had an Easter bunny to entertain the children and pose for pictures, as well as a variety of games and activities. There was face painting, egg dyeing, cookie decorating, a bean bag toss, parachute games, inflatable bounce houses and egg races.
The egg hunts on Camp Courtney and MCAS Futenma were open to all status of forces agreement personnel.
For some children, this was their first egg hunt, and a special sight to see, according to Mandy Havener, a Marine spouse.
“Seeing my one-year-old try to pick up eggs during the egg hunt was the highlight for me,” said Havener. “It’s his first egg hunt, so it’s special.”
The events were all made possible through help of volunteers with the Single Marine Program, the USO, Navy Federal Credit Union, Camp Courtney Chapel, Community Bank, as well as FROs and Marines who dedicated their time to making the day memorable.
In essence, this event was all about the children and families, according to Michael Shannon, the store director of the Camp Courtney Commissary.
“The event reminds us just how important the children are,” said Shannon. “The event brings a little bit of America right here on Okinawa.”