Posted from the Fort Campbell Courier:
Ride ‘Spurs’ Children to Build Character
by Jerrie Macintire, Courier staff
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008 12:26 PM CDT
Children of some Cavalry Soldiers at Fort Campbell will have a chance to enjoy the finest traditions of the Cavalry while emulating their deployed moms and dads with a Kid’s Spur Ride Saturday.
The Spur Ride, an old Cavalry tradition with roots in the age of knights, will challenge children with a slate of activities designed to stretch their endurance and military knowledge.
“The Spur Ride for troopers is a rite of passage in a cavalry unit that builds camaraderie, esprit de corps and demonstrates a level of competence in the tasks completed during the spur ride and shows the dedication and commitment that the trooper has to the cavalry team,” said Lt. Col. John Lynch, squadron commander, 2nd squadron, 17th cavalry regiment, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade.
“The kid’s spur ride is a great way for the kids of deployed cavalry troopers to connect with some of the things their parents do and for the kids to have a lot of fun at the same time,” he said.
Just like cavalry Soldiers, the children will undergo a series of tests and tasks, and can “earn their spurs” after successfully completing tasks at each station.
About 75 to 100 children from the unit are expected to attend the Kid’s Spur Ride which will be held on a local 150 acre farm complete with ponies, a picnic and acres of fun activities, said Wendy Carbone, event coordinator and Bravo Troop Family Readiness Group leader. Although troops have held Spouse’s Spur Rides to allow husbands and wives a taste of the Cavalry tradition, the Kid’s Spur Ride may be a first.
“In absence of a spouse’s Spur Ride [which requires the presence of the Soldiers], the Kid’s Spur Ride will help the children connect with their Soldiers and allow families to get to know each other in a more casual setting,” Carbone said.
Families and Soldiers alike are looking forward to the event, said Darcy Lynch, senior FRG leader whose husband is the squadron commander.
“The Soldiers are so excited. They wish they could be there,” she said.
When the children successfully complete their day of challenges, they’ll earn their spurs, which in this case will be significant from a personal and historical viewpoint: the nubbed style spurs they will receive were hand-crafted in Iraq from scrap metal the unit found while deployed there two years ago.
In addition to the spurs, Darcy will present squadron pins that may be used on their kid-sized Cavalry hats. In another Cavalry tradition, the hats with crossed saber emblems are used to display significant pins. As time passes, they may add other special pins to their hats, Darcy said. Cavalry Soldiers attach important pins to their hat.
Carbone said children may wear their hats to the homecoming when Soldiers return, and can wear them to other unit activities.
Carbone hopes the spur ride will inspire other units to arrange a similar activity.
“The ultimate goal is to get Cavalry Units to see this is a great activity to get kids and families together, and connected with Soldiers,” Carbone said.
Although this event is for the families of 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry regiment and not open to the general public, Carbone has offered her advice for others wanting to plan a similar event. Contact Carbone at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some images from 2-17 Cav’s 2009 Kid’s Spur Ride
The challenges children will face on their Spur Ride include:
• Cavalry Kid Board [Charlie Troop]: Children complete a worksheet covering aircraft recognition, mapping of troop locations in Afghanistan and mission description of what mom or dad is doing there.
• First Aid [Echo Troop]: Younger children learn when to call 911; older children learn what to do in case of an injury.
• Commo Station [Alpha Troop]: The station includes a display of the phonetic alphabet. Children will use walkie-talkies to send messages and write the “secret” response on their cards.
• Range [HHT]: Children will use “guns and grenades” [water guns and water balloons] to hit targets.
• Land Navigation / Recon Patrol [Delta Troop]: Safety briefs will include information on poisonous snakes and plants in the area. Hiking will include navigation skills. Recon skills will locate twigs suitable for making S’mores at the evening bonfire.
• Super Scout Event [Bravo Troop]: This will include an obstacle course, run and sack race.
• Bonfire [ Rear D]: The evening bonfire at 8 p.m. will cap the first Kid’s Spur Ride event.
CavHooah donated over 120 sets of Kid’s Spurs for this event!