Published: May 17, 2019
Summer is peeking its head around the corner. And you know what that means, right? Laid back pool days, beach vacays, BBQs, summer camps, road trips, and more moments that call for opening up a good book you just can’t put down.
But for military families, it can mean more time spent apart due to trainings or deployments, and jam-packed days while PCSing from one duty station to the next. So to help you make the most of whatever amount of free time your family may have this season in the most affordable and memorable way, Blue Star Summer is back in full swing!
Check out these two programs that are sure to inspire you to kick it off in the best way possible:
Expand Your Knowledge: Explore a Blue Star Museum
Let’s be honest. Some days call for a break from the intense sun and heat (and also trying to come up with new ideas to keep your kiddos entertained). And visiting a local museum is the perfect starting place as many offer storytimes, crafts, kid-friendly exhibits, and more. But, the admission costs can seriously add up.
That fact alone is the perfect segway into the Blue Star Museums program. Every summer since 2010, Blue Star Families has been teaming up with the National Endowment for the Arts and Department of Defense to give Active duty, National Guard, and Reserve military personnel (and up to five family members!) free admission at participating museums across the country. This season, the program runs from Saturday, May 18, 2019 (Armed Forces Day) through Monday, September 2, 2019 (Labor Day).
Though, many parents know that museums can often prove to be overwhelming. So, to ensure your family makes the most of your visit, we’ve put together this Museum Parent Toolkit, which offers tips and activities to guide you through the entire experience—from pre-visit to during and after your exploration! A good time is bound to be had by all while loading up on art, science, natural history, and more.
Venture into the Great Outdoors: Become One With Nature at a Blue Star Park
If you’re moving this summer or it’s your first season in a new location, it can be challenging to see the beauty in your surroundings when you’re living out of a suitcase, being trapped by moving boxes, or even trying to get acclimated to your current duty station. So escape to a Blue Star Park for a change of scenery because, chances are, you probably live near one! (Hey, it’s true because there are more than 2,000 national parks and federal recreation sites at your fingertips.)
The best part? Your military family can do so for free with an annual America the Beautiful pass. It’s the U.S. National Park Service’s way of saying thank you to our country’s current military members and their families in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as Reserve and National Guard.
If you haven’t already gotten your hands on a pass, visit a federal recreation site near your current duty station (or as you’re passing through on your upcoming PCS journey). Simply show your Common Access Card (CAC) or a military ID, and you’ll be able to take in the great outdoors in your favorite way—whether that means hiking, a nature scavenger hunt, geocaching, picnicking; you name it!
Now, go ahead & kick off your #BlueStarSummer!
No matter where you may find yourself this summer, a Blue Star Museum or Blue Star Park is within reach. Take advantage of these two programs so you can usher in the warmer days as a family!
And if you haven’t done so already, become a member of Blue Star Families today to stay in-the-know on our programs and partnerships available to our nation’s military families around the world.