Salute set for Padres’ annual Military Opening Day
San Diego | Padres.com | April 14, 2013
Ceremony also will recognize the San Diego Military Advisory Council & REBOOT veteran transition program
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres today announced the complete line-up of events surrounding Military Opening Day presented by Northrop Grumman, this Sunday, April 14, which officially kicks off a full season of Sunday military salutes.
Pregame ceremonies for Military Opening Day presented by Northrop Grumman will include nearly 200 active duty men and women lining the base paths and the 50 State Flag Team from Marine Corps Recruit Depot. The ceremony will recognize the San Diego Military Advisory Council and the REBOOT veteran transition program for their efforts in support of service members and their families.
Sunday’s National Anthem will be performed by Navy Band Southwest and MajGen Ronald Bailey, Commanding Officer of the First Marine Division, will throw the Ceremonial First Pitch and present a U.S. flag recently flown in Afghanistan to the Padres. Military Take the Field, which has become a Sunday tradition, will feature representatives from the Army, California National Guard, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.
In addition Sunday, Laura Brayton, a military spouse representing the Armed Services Armed Services YMCA San Diego will be accompanied by her husband, USMC Capt. Andrew Brayton as she sings “God Bless America” during the 7th inning break.
In support of Military Opening Day, presenting sponsor Northrop Grumman has donated 1,500 tickets for Sunday’s game to local military non-profits, and FOX Sports San Diego has teamed up with the Armed Services YMCA to have its Fan Express bring military families to the game.
More information about the full line-up of Military Salutes this season, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day and a Salute to the Military Child, can be found on the club’s dedicated military website, www.padres.com/military, which serves as a tool to connect Padres fans to our San Diego military community and non-profit organizations that support it.
Tickets for all home games can be purchased at the Petco Park box office, online at www.padres.com, by phone at 619.795.5555, at the Padres Store in Tijuana, and new this year, at all Ticketmaster locations.
MU students spend spring break at ASYMCA camp
Fort Campbell, OK |Fort Campbell Courier | April 4th
Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 6:00 pm
by Lori Brenae Perkins, Courier staff
For spring break, instead of joining the bandwagon and partying at Cancun, Mexico or Panama City Beach, Fla., 12 college students from the University of Missouri volunteered last week at the Fort Campbell Armed Services YMCA.
The college students worked with the ASYMCA, located on Reed Street, to help prepare 25, 4-to 5-year-old preschoolers for elementary school.
The University of Missouri is part of Alternative Breaks, a large organization that sends 40 site leaders and participants to various locations to help communities.
“I just found out two weeks ago … I think it’s worked out really well,” said site leader Jayme Gardner, a senior. “The participants that we have and the way that they are and their personalities work well with that age group.”
During camp, the children were put in animal groups of five and were given different activities each day. Among the activities was when an education naturalist from Animal Tales, a company that provides nature and zoo animal education, brought a raccoon, an owl, a porcupine, a toad and a snake, which were the names of the groups, for the children to observe.
“[They] learned about the animals, [colored, had relays and obstacle courses, played tag] and [made] art and crafts,” said Gardner. “They had a potato and stuck little toothpicks in it and eyes on it, and made it a porcupine.
The preschoolers were also taught team challenges and the importance of team work.
“I really like the challenge [activities],” said freshman student Kristin Ayer. “As their leader, we can encourage them to encourage their teammates and teach them to be positive and help each other out.”
By the end of camp week, the students saw growth in the preschoolers’ understanding of restraint and teamwork.
“It’s funny, in the beginning of the week, [some of the children] wouldn’t understand why they didn’t get to pick up a ball or do whatever,” explained Gardner. “Now, they’re cheering each other on and telling me things like ‘I can’t do anything without my team.’”
“It’s been really cool to see the development of the kids,” said Morris. “It’s been good to see how well they’ve adjusted.”
The spring break program also richly helped a few of the non-ASYMCA preschoolers who are not able to interact with their peers regularly.
“Even in the short four or five days we’ve been with them, we’ve already seen them starting to not only understand the rules, but [being] excited to follow the rules,” Gardner said.
The ASYMCA usually has programs to assist preschoolers, but this year, opted for a different kind of pre-registration program.
“We normally do programs like Our Little Heroes program, which is a preschool program that we do for kids whose parents are deployed…,” said director Shirley West. “We decided that we’d do a spring break camp.”
To register a child for spring break camp, certain qualifications were required.
“One of our criteria was that they had to be 4 [years-old] by the beginning of the school year, last year in September,” said adventure camp coordinator Susan King.
“We looked for E-5s and below; it’s our focus.”
Site leaders, Gardner and junior Skylar Morris, both agree that donating their time is one of the “highest forms of service.”
“Spring break for me now is service,” Gardner said. “I’ve always really like to go and see other communities and learn about other people.”
On Friday, senior Chi Him Ng, showed emotions as she was handed an “I’ll miss you” card from a preschool girl.
“It’s bittersweet,” Ng said.
Preschooler Tyler Arnone, 4, had a positive change after camp.
“I think it helped him become more open with people he didn’t know very well,” his mother Jennifer Arnone said. “[He] was excited to go to a camp that his older brother and sister weren’t going to.”
Before the students left Saturday, they helped hide eggs for the ASYMCA egg hunt at Camp Hinsch.
“We probably had about 800 people; we hid over 10,000 eggs,” West said.
Spring break camp taught preschoolers new activities and discipline while giving UM students a chance to mingle with the Fort Campbell community, experience Soldiers’ homecoming and personally see how children deal with deployments: a lesson they will never forget.
“Every night we have reflection,” explained Gardner. “I think for a lot of us it’s been really awesome… [being here] put into perspective, what a lot of these kids are going through.”
LAS CROABAS, PUERTO RICO—One of the key initiatives over the next year for La Quinta Inns & Suites will be an all-out effort to embrace members of the armed services, as well as veterans and veteran-owned vendors.
Describing the military-friendly concept for some 1,300 attendees here at the midscale chain’s annual conference being held at El Conquistador Resort, President/CEO Wayne Goldberg said it would range across a variety of strategies, including hiring, community giving, marketing and recognition.
“We want to hire more veterans and military spouses because they are quick learners and have demonstrated leadership qualities and to designate La Quinta as a ‘Top-25 Military Spouse Friendly Employer’ for 2013,” said Goldberg. He noted the company recently was cited by GI Jobs magazine as a military friendly employer.
In addition, Goldberg said the chain’s community-giving efforts have enabled it to form strategic partnerships with several leading military non-profit organizations, and in working with these groups “Our [loyalty program] Returns members will be able to donate their Returns points to a fantastic philanthropic cause: the military family,” he said.
EVP/Chief Marketing Officer Julie Cary said the organizations include Fisher House Foundation, Operation Home front and the Armed Services YMCA.
“Fisher House has a program called ‘Hotels for Heroes,’ a program that helps military-family members who have urgent, last-minute travel needs,” said Cary, indicating the donation of Returns points is a simple process. “The donated Returns points go into a central account managed by the Hotels for Heroes team, who can then redeem them for stays at our hotels,” she said.
Although the program is just getting off the ground, approximately 125,000 points already have been donated.
Beginning in May, La Quinta will launch a new tier within the Returns program that will offer active-duty military, military spouses, caregivers and veterans the opportunity to join the program and receive an accelerated tier status similar to the loyalty program’s Gold tier.
The La Quinta Returns Military Rewards program also will include: 2,000 Returns points on the first stay; two King Room upgrade certificates; 20% bonus points on all stays; a dedicated, exclusive customer service and reservations telephone number; a personalized welcome kit; and a 12% discount when military identification is shown.
Goldberg added the chain’s efforts to recognize military members would include giving them a key-card sleeve at check in that recognizes their service.
The CEO told attendees there was one non-cost aspect of the program that could and should be implemented immediately.
“Train your front desk [staff] and everyone at your property to recognize and thank anyone in uniform. When your employees see a member of the armed forces in uniform, they should immediately go up to the individual and thank them for their service to our country,” said the CEO.
The military initiative, which Goldberg said was inspired by consultant Lee Dushoff who works with the chain, is being spearheaded by Derek Blake, La Quinta’s VP/partnership marketing.
The CEO also said the chain would look to increase its support of vendors that are veteran owned. The company presently works with approximately 22 such vendors.
Media support targeted toward the military will launch in May and include print and online efforts, said Cary.
Goldberg felt La Quinta’s military initiative is more comprehensive than other programs and offers the chain a competitive advantage. “More importantly, it’s the right thing to do,” he said.—Stefani C. O’Connor
HARRISBURG, Pa., March 5, 2013 –/PRNewswire/ – United Concordia® Dental, administrator of the Department of Defense’sTRICARE Active Duty Dental Program, announced today it will provide six military veterans with an opportunity to attend the Armed Services YMCA “Angels of the Battlefield” gala in Washington, DC.
United Concordia will provide veterans with tickets to the event which honors the Corpsmen, Medics and Pararescuemen of the United States Military who are saving lives and demonstrate extraordinary courage.
United Concordia will provide transportation to and from the event as well as overnight lodging and meals as a show of appreciation to the veterans who have served their country.
“United Concordia is a proud sponsor of the ASYMCA Angels of the Battlefield gala and we thought it fitting to extend an invitation to the event to local veterans who have given so much to protect our country,” says Sharon Duke, Director of Government Affairs at United Concordia.
The Angels of the Battlefield gala will be held on March 6, 2013, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
About United Concordia
United Concordia has administered dental programs for the Department of Defense since 1996. During this time, the company has become one of the nation’s largest and most respected dental insurance companies, processing more than 9.1 million claims in 2012 and maintaining a network of more than 68,000 dentists at more than 130,000 locations. The company serves more than 6 million members across the United States and around the world.
Established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Highmark in 1992, United Concordia works to provide high-quality, cost-effective dental benefits to its members. Success in satisfying members and obtaining new contracts has made United Concordia the fifth largest dental insurance company in the country. For more information on the ADDP, visit www.addp-ucci.com. For more information on United Concordia, visit www.unitedconcordia.com.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/05/5237828/united-concordia-dental-honors.html#storylink=cpy
Fort Bragg Armed Services YMCA hosts day for daughters, mothers
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Ballerinas, tutus, and sparkly tiara-wearing princesses were seen across the room as beautiful angels and their mothers celebrated the 11th annual Mother Daughter Tea and Fashion Show.
The event, sponsored by the Armed Services YMCA, took place Feb. 23 and 24 at the ASYMCA facility.
“It’s all about bringing mothers and daughters together,” said Lynne Grates, ASYMCA executive director. “There’s nothing better than little girls getting dressed up and spending the day with their mothers.”
Each guest received a gift as they arrived and took their seats in the decorated room filled with colorful pom-poms hanging from the ceiling.
Nicole Ornelas, 6, and her mother, Michele, were very happy to spend the day together.
“I see it as a date,” said Michele. “A very special time between mother and daughter.”
Once the guests were seated, they were treated to an assortment of sweets and punch as well as a choice of 19 different teas.
Once everyone was finished eating, the girls got to model their beautiful dresses. Some stopping to strike a pose as the crowd cheered them on.
“The fashion show is always the best part,” said Grates. “It’s so much fun to see the little girls blossom and it brings out their self-esteem.”
Due to limited space and the great demand from attendees, the ASYMCA plans to host the event for a second time this year in September.
“The staff worked extremely hard to ensure this event was a success,” said Grates. “We truly appreciate the support. It’s great to have an event that’s sold out,” she said.
For more information about the upcoming Mother Daughter Tea and Fashion Show, contact the ASYMCA at 436-0500.
A Night in the Spotlight
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 16, 2013) Servicemen and their daughters hit the dance floor at the San Diego Armed Services YMCA Father and Daughter Dance. More than 450 military fathers attended the 7th annual event, themed “A Night in the Spotlight.” (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans/Released)
Va. Beach ASYMCA’s child center has open house
Hampton Roads, VA| The Virginian-Pilot| February 19, 2013
The Armed Services YMCA of Hampton Roads will host a grand opening of its newly remodeled child development center at 1465 Lakeside Road, Virginia Beach, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday.
The open house kicks off a campaign to raise a $25,000 scholarship line for the child development programs. Each year, the organization receives requests for scholarships from military members; the funding line will provide full and subsidized scholarships for preschool, before and afterschool care, and summer camp programs.
The Armed Services YMCA of Hampton Roads is a 501-C3 nonprofit organization that provides support for military personnel and their families. Unlike a traditional Y, they do not maintain a recreation facility. They provide outreach programs in the community where military members and their families live and work.
Gifts can be made to the scholarship line by visiting the donation page at www.asymcahr.org.
CORONADO, Calif. – Jessica Bleigh is one of the hundreds of San Diego military wives whose life dramatically changed after their husbands were injured in war.
She was in her mid-20s raising two small children when her husband Navy Corpsman Tim Bleigh returned from Afghanistan in 2011 injured.
“It put almost the entire load on her, which doesn’t register while it’s going on, but I look back and think about everything she did. I was like third or fourth kid,” he said.
Jessica Bleigh admitted the rollercoaster of emotions she has being the main provider of her family.
“You just have to go with the flow and just not pull your hair out and go crazy when you’re having a bad day,” she said. “You call up your best girlfriend and she just makes you feel better.”
Tim Bleigh was working with the Marines when his Humvee exploded from an IED in March 2011. He broke several bones, vertebrae and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was in the ICU for a month and in the hospital for several more.
“It happened so sudden it didn’t register right away,” he said. “All of a sudden so much force is upon you. You can’t see, you can’t do anything really except realize it hurts.”
Certainly, there are husbands who are also taking care of their wives who are injured overseas, but military statistics show women are the majority who bare the care-giver responsibility.
The wives of wounded warriors don’t often receive recognition, but that is starting to change.
Four years ago, Barbara McNally started a support group specifically for women who had become caretakers for their spouse.
“I don’t pretend to understand,” she said. “I’m just there to provide a place for encouragement.”
“Empty Your Cup” is a quarterly meeting that allows women to relax with programs like yoga, as well as share their stories. McNally hosts a spa day at the Hotel Del Coronado.
For two years, she footed the bill. Then she joined forces with the Wounded Warrior Project and the Armed Services YMCA. The partnership allows for more gatherings and therapy programs.
“I would say they’re the silent strength behind our soldiers. We send our soldiers out and they come back with medals and flags. The silent heroes are the wives who wait for them and are there when they’re injured,” said McNally. “I remember I card I got from one woman. She said I the first person who ever recognized her.”
The US Navy Southwest region in San Diego has several support programs for family in its Fleet and Family Support Center, but nothing specifically that caters to women of wounded sailors and marines.
Many are wondering how San Diego’s military will be affected with the current talks of sequestration cuts in Congress. If lawmakers can’t come up with a deal, $1.2 trillion in cuts will automatically take effect on March 1. About half a trillion will affect the Department of Defense.
Late last year, lawmakers on both sides agreed not to cut programs supporting, physically and mentally, the returning injured troops and the spouses. Many anticipate sequestration cuts to affect defense contractors in San Diego and military size, rather than the support programs.
“It’s hard, it’s not easy and it was really challenging, but I’m glad he came home. I think it’s better than the alternative,” said Jessica.
The Beligh’s now cycle together through a rehabilitation program through the Naval Medical Center. Tim’s injuries have almost healed, though he continues a physical therapy regimen.
Click here for more information on how to get involved with Barbara McNally’s and Armed Services YMCA “Empty your Cup.”
Read more at http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/02/18/honoring-the-militarys-silent-heroes-spouses/#2Dit0XJ0bZgCQRZO.99
2013 Armed Services YMCA Art Contest
By MILITARY PRESS on January 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm
This Year’s Essay, “My Military Family”
An elementary school-age child from an Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard/Reserve family will win a IPod Touch! The winning entries will be used on the Military Family Month Poster for November 2013.
• Who can enter? Kindergarten through sixth grade children of Military Families in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard & National Guard/Reserves. The military parent must be active duty or retired (with 20+ years of service).
• What to do? in color on a 6 by 8 inch template.
• Oversized and three-dimensional entries will not be judged. Entries should illustrate military family. Please do not identify family members on the drawings.
• Facts to know! Art contest entry forms are included in this packet and may also be found on our website: www.asymca.org and should be included with the entry. Entries without an Entry Form will not be judged, so make sure it is filled out completely and sent in with your artwork.
• When is the deadline? All drawings must be postmarked by February 15, 2013.