By Susan A. Merkner | U.S. Army Installation Management Command Public Affairs
Editor’s note: The following article has been localized to include more information on Fort Carson youth Benjamin C., who was the contest grand prize winner. Last names of all competitors in the youth contest were withheld to protect their privacy.
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Seven military children are winners and two received honorable mentions in the 2021 Young Lives, BIG Stories (YLBS) contest sponsored by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s G9 Child and Youth Services (CYS).
The top prize went to Benjamin C. of Fort Carson, Colorado, who described the challenges and rewards of being a military child.
The combined art and essay contest is part of the 2021 Month of the Military Child observance, with the theme, “Military Children and Youth: A Resilient Force in a Changing World.” The contest is open to active-duty Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Army spouse or U.S. Army retiree children in preschool through grade 12.
Participants submitted an essay or drawing to tell their story of what it means to be a military child or youth. The winners were selected from 78 entries this year.
Drawings may be submitted by children ages 3 through third grade. Written submissions may be entered by children in grades four through 12. Entries are judged for content, form, presentation of the main idea and creativity.
“In my opinion, military kids show similar traits to their military parents,” Benjamin wrote. “They must be resilient to get through tough times and the fluidity to adapt to new situations.”
He also wrote about not only the adventures that come with being a child of military parents, but the determination it takes to start all over again with a permanent change of station move.
Month of the Military Child (MOMC) is observed annually to recognize and honor military children for their contributions and support to Soldiers and the Army mission. The observance reiterates the Army’s commitment to Soldier and Family readiness and resilience, to excellence in Child and Youth Services, and to a supportive environment where children can thrive. MOMC was established in 1986.
Prizes are given for the winners of each age category and for one overall winner. As the grand prize winner, Benjamin won an advanced gaming laptop.
This year, two students submitted videos and were acknowledged with honorable mentions. CYS officials are planning to add a video category to next year’s YLBS contest.
The following youths took top honors in their respective categories.
Grand prize: Benjamin C., Fort Carson, Colorado. Acer Predator Triton 500 Gaming Laptop.
Grades 9-12: Kristen P., USAG Hawaii. 2020 Apple iPad Air.
Grades 6-8: Ireland H., USAG Stuttgart, Germany. Xbox Series X.
Grades 4-5: Adeline G., Army National Guard, Louisiana. 2020 Apple iPad Air.
Grades 2-3: Alexa A., Fort Hood, Texas. 2020 Apple iPad Air.
Ages 5 to Grade 1: Olive B., Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet.
Ages 3-4 years old: Evangeline L., Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. Fire 7 Kids Tablet.
Videos – honorable mentions
Grades 2-3: MiQuelS Jr., Fort Riley, Kansas. MasterCard gift card
Grades 6-8: Sariah A., Fort Riley, Kansas. MasterCard gift card