FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (April 2, 2024) — Fort Leonard Wood is preparing to celebrate the Month of the Military Child, commonly known as MOMC, with a schedule of events designed to recognize the unique role America’s tiniest heroes play on this installation.

“Military children live in every zip code of our country, and on military posts and bases across the globe. Yet, their everyday lives are mostly invisible to the general public. On average, military children move and change schools eight times from the start of kindergarten to high school graduation. As quickly as orders come through, they must pick up, pack up and say goodbye to friends, who have become family,” said Jennifer Chapman, Parent Outreach Services director for the Child and Youth Services Division of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate.

Chapman said watching her own military children navigate military life has been the catalyst for her passion of “advocating for military children,” and that is why she feels it is important to celebrate them in April.

Tamara Smith, Child Youth Services coordinator, agreed.

“Military children and youth are resilient, they are strong and they are a very important piece of the military family. April gives us the opportunity to celebrate them and thank them,” Smith said. “A lot of times, we don’t consider the impact a military lifestyle can have on the children in the household as they are just expected to keep moving forward. They don’t get the choice or the opportunity to say no to a move, a deployment or a parent who has a demanding schedule that keeps them gone for long hours most days.”

She said military children deserve to be recognized for their strength, resiliency and their ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

“Celebrating and acknowledging military children can help them see their importance and that they make a difference,” Smith said.

Fort Leonard Wood’s FMWR program has events scheduled throughout the month to give military families a chance to do just that — have fun and celebrate.

“Our mission is to bring our community together to celebrate our military children,” Chapman said.

On April 1, festivities kick-off at 5:30 p.m. at the Daugherty Bowling Center, with a proclamation signing, prize giveaways and free bowling for children and $2 for adults.

The first Story Time of the month will be at 10:30 a.m. April 2 at the Bruce C. Clarke Library. Story Time at the library is planned for every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

After reading a couple of books, there will be music and movement, then craft time. For more information, call 573.563.4113.

Dru Pippin Youth Center is hosting an open house from 5 to 6 p.m. April 5 for 6th to 12th grade students and their families. Fifth grade students entering 6th grade next year are also invited to check out the center with their families.

“We will be celebrating our youth with an open house. This will include opportunities to explore the youth center for incoming 6th graders and any other youth who hasn’t had an opportunity to stop by,” Smith said.

The open house will have food, games and information about upcoming Dru Pippin Youth Center events.

A Night at the Museum is a lock-in scheduled for April 12 at the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex.

“This is the first year that we have partnered with the Fort Leonard Wood museum to offer the Army museum lock-in,” Smith said.

The theme, Race to Remagen, will have teams of pre-teens and teenagers testing their skills in an escape room and scavenger hunt, taking them through each of the regiments’ sections of the museum.

The museum lock-in’s registration is full and currently has a waitlist.

CYS Spirit Week begins April 15 with Purple Up! Day — people are encouraged to wear as much purple as possible, April 16 is pajama versus prom day, April 17 camouflage day, April 18 inside out day and April 19 is take me to the zoo day.

Smith said Purple Up! is one of her favorite days because “we really want our children and youth to see how important they are to us.”

She said a new theme day this year is “pajama versus prom and we are very excited to see everyone’s different ways of expressing this theme.”

The Purple Up! competition coincides with spirit week, according to Smith, and the entire Fort Leonard Wood community is invited to decorate their facility in purple.

“All organizations and units can compete to show their MOMC spirit,” Smith said.

Any unit or organization on post participating in the Purple Up! competition can email Chapman at before April 12 to enter for the April 15 judging. For more information, call 573.596.0238.

PT in the Woods will be at 6 a.m. April 17 on Gerlach Field.

“We will take the School Age Children for some morning physical fitness training; parents and units are encouraged to help motivate the SAC children in completing morning PT,” Smith said.

The event is open to children ages 3 to 18. For more information, call Youth Sports and Fitness at 573.596.0185.

One of the largest events of the month, Fort Leonard Wood’s MOMC Palooza, is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 20 on Gerlach Field.

“I started planning this year while at MOMC Palooza last year. We had so much fun that it made me want to make it bigger and better this year,” Chapman said.

MOMC Palooza is a partnership event with the Directorate of Public Works to celebrate Earth Day.

“Last year was our first partnership with DPW and the Army Earth Day celebration; once the event was over, we said that we wanted to keep it a group event,” Chapman said.

There are more than 60 organizations signed up to participate in this year’s palooza.

“Be ready to have fun. This year is twice the size as last year. There will be activities and games to keep the children entertained and resources and information for the parents. The food truck area will be bigger, and we have a donut truck that has a viewing window for the children to watch donuts being made,” Chapman said. “Also, for the teens we have the (MOMC) Base Race that they can compete in that will take them all over the garrison.”

The MOMC Base Race is set to begin at 10 a.m. April 20 on Gerlach Field. The race around post is open for children 6th grade and above. Registration for this event is at Parent Central Services in Bldg. 470 and closes April 12. For more information, call 573.596.0238.

“On April 27, we close out MOMC with Groove and Splash at Davidson Fitness Center. This event is open to everyone, with family friendly Zumba and an open swim,” Smith said.

The free Groove and Splash event is from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. April 27 at the Davidson Fitness Center. From 5 to 7 p.m. the pool opens for recreational swimming. The cost of the open swim is $3 per person, ages 3 and under swim for free.

U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood Commander Col. Anthony Pollio reads a list of facts regarding military children, including the average number of schools they attend as they move with their military family, before signing Fort Leonard Wood’s official Month of the Military Child proclamation, during a kick-off celebration April 1 at the Daugherty Bowling Center. After the ceremony, families had the chance to partake in cake, bowling and giveaways. Fort Leonard Wood’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program has events scheduled throughout April to give military families a chance to have fun and celebrate.















About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.




their own daily celebrations planned, ranging from a bubble dance party to a talent show.