USO Sesame Street Tour 2012

Herald/MARIANNE LIJEWSKI Sesame Street's Elmo touches hands with Eliana Camilo, 2, alongside her mother Paola Irizarry Tuesday afternoon during the USO Sesame Street Tour show at Abrams Physical Fitness Center on Fort Hood.

The Sesame Street/USO Experience made a two-day stop at Fort Hood last week, providing free, family-friendly entertainment to military families.

About 4,000 people were able to watch some of their favorite “Sesame Street” characters perform at Abrams Physical Fitness Center during four performances on Sept. 25 and 26.

The partnership between “Sesame Street” and USO started in 2008 as a way to address the needs of military families, said Lonnie Cooper, USO tour manager.

“Sesame Street knows kids and USO knows military families, so it’s a natural fit,” he said.

The show included Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster, Rosita and Katie — a military child who can only be seen on this tour.

“Katie is a military kid being moved to a new base,” Cooper said. “Katie talks with Elmo about how to keep in touch with her old friends.”

In previous tours, the story line focused on teaching kids to deal with deployment. This year’s new show focuses on other aspects of military life.

Cooper said statistics show one in three military families will move this year and kids often bear the brunt of it.

“We want to make them understand that it doesn’t have to be scary, it can be an adventure,” he said.

All kids who attended the show got a free Elmo twirly light.

Amy Haislip brought her 2-year-old daughter, Savannah, an Elmo fan.

“We’ve never been to anything like this,” she said, while Savannah played with her Elmo light and waited for the show to start. “All day she’s been asking about Elmo.”

Haislip said she does appreciate these free family opportunities available on post.

“I think it’s great. I’ve been to a couple different events. She’s experienced a lot because of what the military offers,” she said.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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