GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – The Outstanding Family Member Program held its second annual Parent Picnic Day on June 15, 2022 at Rose Barracks. In a picnic atmosphere, all members of the community were invited to take advantage of the good weather, play, network and get to know their community better.
“This event is fantastic. It was great last year and I’m really excited for the families and kids running here that we’re doing it again this year. It’s a great way to start the summer,” said Garrison Commander Col. Christopher Danbeck.
Organizations such as the Family Advocacy Program, Child and Youth Services, United Services Organization, American Forces Network, the Library and many more were on hand to provide fun activities, entertainment and information.
“We’re just here to have fun and get people involved. Get them out of the house and interact with each other,” explained Quran Rich, EFMP Systems Navigator. “And then if they have any questions with any of these agencies that are here to support them, they have the opportunity to do their fun activities, ask questions, get information, or find any kind of support they might need.”
“We just arrived here a few months ago and it’s a great opportunity to network and meet different people and organizations. Especially with a newborn, it’s nice to see what they offer in terms of family activities, programs and classes,” said his wife Rashonda Spence. “And of course to mingle and find kids the same age as ours so they can play and run and be open.”
In addition to allowing families to get out and have fun, this event aimed to raise awareness among members of the community with special needs.
“My program focuses on soldiers who have been sent here with special needs dependents and our goal is to serve them and support them and help them get out there and feel involved. And we want the members of the community who may not have special needs dependents just know that there are families with special needs in our area,” explained Terry Giles, EFMP manager for USAG Bavaria.
One of the games offered, the mirror box game, was a fun way to give participants a sense of what it is like to be a person with special needs and to raise awareness and understanding. “You can do the same things as everyone else. It’s just harder,” Rich explained.
Many other fun activities such as bean bag toss, face painting, corn hole and hula-hoop were available. Additionally, food trucks catered to hungry attendees who had not brought their own picnic food.
“We didn’t expect it to be this big. It turned out really nice. I love how everyone is hanging out with their kids and having a picnic and everyone having fun with everyone,” said Sgt. Kelly Nicolas from 2CR came to enjoy the family picnic. “It’s a very good event. It’s the best time for everyone to get out and play and have fun with their kids and meet new people.
Compared to last year, this event has already grown in size. Other organizations participated and food trucks were present. However, in the future, ACS hopes to extend this event to Hohenfels and Garmisch so that families also have the opportunity to organize fun and interesting events there.
In addition to this annual picnic, the ACS offers other family and fun activities and events such as the monthly karaoke evening or the children’s movie night. More information can be found at: