Author: Erica Glass
What an amazing year 2016 has been for Blue Star Arts here in Alaska! Blue Star Arts consists of the programs: Books on Bases, Blue Star Museums, and Blue Star Theatres. As Chapter Director I have the fun job of organizing events around these programs! Here are some Blue Star Arts events that had a great impact on our Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) families here in Alaska.
Books on Bases
The best way to encourage literacy in children is to read to them and with them. This is where Books on Bases comes in! Lucky for me, the JBER library already creates imaginative and fun events; I merely show up with books! I like to coordinate the books with the event. For example, for the library’s annual Princess and Pirates event I brought all our princess and pirate-themed books. Since Disney is the one who graciously donates these books, finding princess-themed books to bring was easy! Our most recent library event was Paws to Read, where children read books to service dogs. You guessed it, I brought my dog-themed books!
Close to one thousand books were given to children stationed at JBER in 2016 and we are not slowing down any in 2017. JBER families, be on the lookout for the JBER Library’s Comic Con event in mid-January. I will, of course, be bringing superhero books!
Blue Star Museums
Blue Star Museums grants FREE access to participating museums during the summer months. Our local Blue Star Museum, the Alaska Veteran’s Museum, was an awesome spot for a scavenger hunt event. The wealth of information inside the museum is amazing! The museum volunteers and I conspired and wrote out clues for our teams (made up of local military members and spouses) and then we gave them twenty minutes to run around and find the answers. I was lucky enough to also get the Alaska National Guard Spouse of the Year to come as a special guest and be one of my “clues”. The winner walked away with a $50 gift card from Blue Star Families and every team received a gift bag with donations from local military spouse-owned businesses. The event was so well received, that we will be making this an annual event! Alaska families, keep your eyes peeled for Summer 2017 as to how you can be a participating team or to donate to the event.
Blue Star Theatres
Each Blue Star Theaters participant offers discounted or complimentary admission to all military personnel and their families, as well as veterans to the theatre. Our local Blue Star Theatre, the Perseverance Theatre, has been so supportive to our local chapter. Together we organized a special military family’s day during their show Peter and the Starcatcher (a unique story of Peter Pan’s beginning). Military members received a deep discount on tickets (this discount is for all their shows, not just military family days) and all military children in attendance received a free book and got to meet members of the cast! I was happy to receive tons of good feedback to include this from one local JBER family:
“Thank you!!! My kids are so happy about these books. J won’t stop talking about how she got to meet “the real Starcatcher girl.” – JBER Family
Currently in the works is another Military Family Day at the theatre for the Perseverance Theatre’s showing of A Christmas Carol. This event is still being planned out, but save the date Alaska families! It will be Sunday, December 18 at 2:00pm.
My sincere thanks to the JBER Library staff, the Alaska Veterans Museum, and the Perseverance Theatre for helping me to deliver these Blue Star Arts programs to the families stationed here at JBER. Without your commitment and support to our military families, it wouldn’t be possible for me to do all these programs! Thank you! <3
Click here to learn more about our Blue Star Arts programs!