A few weeks ago, my blog covered the remarkable 10-year celebration of Lemonade Day Fort Hood Area. The early success and positive influence of Lemonade Day in the Killeen-Fort Hood area has become the barometer and model for launching Lemonade Day in the cities that have followed in their footsteps. The event was significant in so many ways but it underscored the value of the Lemonade Day program in a community that also includes a military base. In April, our country celebrates the Month of the Military Child. Lemonade Day is also showing support and recognizing the role military children play in their communities.
Several activities are planned throughout April in the Fort Hood-Killeen communities for Month of the Military Child. Schools may have programs, and local businesses are known to offer special discounts. Lemonade Day Fort Hood Area has planned a Design-a-Stand event on post, hosted by Fort Hood Family Housing. There will be several DIY stations to help kids and their parents create cost-conscious decorations for their own lemonade stand and a demonstration on how to build stands.
I’ve asked three ladies that I have great admiration and respect for to be guest bloggers this week. Amanda Sequeira helped establish Lemonade Day Fort Hood Area. Nieomi King served on the local Lemonade Day advisory board and through this experience, created the Military Lemonade Day program. Maria Reed is a powerhouse military spouse who will be the featured designer for Design-a-Stand and will be experiencing Lemonade Day for the first time this May. She is already jumping in and making a difference, with a true military spirit.
I invite everyone to wear purple during April in support of the Month of the Military Child. And if you live near a military base, show your appreciation for our military families.
Please share this blog with your friends, family members, and co-workers. As always, I enjoy hearing your comments, questions and ideas.
So, I’ll turn it over to these magnificent champions of Lemonade Day and our military where they will tell you, in their own words, why Lemonade Day means so much to Fort Hood and the military families who benefit from the program.
I’m the vice president of community engagement for First National Bank Texas, and Lemonade Day is one of our community development initiatives. I currently serve as Lemonade Day City Director and am also a Lemonade Day National board member. If you’ve never lived near a military base, you may not be familiar with Month of the Military Child, but it’s one of our favorite months to celebrate. Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child honors and applauds more than one million active-duty dependent military children worldwide (Source: DOD) for their courage, the daily sacrifices they make, and challenges they overcome. Established in 1986, the Month of the Military Child is part of the legacy left by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.
Military children face unique challenges including parent deployments and a mobile lifestyle that requires leaving current friends, making new friends, and reintegration into new cities and schools. Their resiliency and maturity to process these disruptions is extraordinary, and the festivities during the month of April are an opportunity to pause and celebrate them. I’ve seen the benefits of Lemonade Day play out with our participants, particularly military youth, who learn to spend, save and share some of their lemonade stand profits. I’m always inspired that many military children donate a portion of their profits to organizations benefitting soldiers and their families – organizations that may have helped their own families.
Lemonade Day is impactful. Kids follow the lessons, develop their business, and go out and sell. The experience connects all the dots for a child: strategizing, product development, finding investors, picking a good location, making a profit, and philanthropy. The pride they exhibit from the planning and preparation is huge, and it feeds their ambition to do more. I’m particularly proud of the fact that Lemonade Day Fort Hood Area has had two of our young entrepreneurs recognized as Youth Entrepreneurs of the Year by Lemonade Day National.
I’m Nieomi King and I am the marketing and communications manager for Fort Hood Family Housing. My initial involvement in Lemonade Day began when I served on the Lemonade Day Fort Hood Area advisory council. Inspired by observing kids start and own their first business, watching business leaders getting involved, and seeing the impact within the community, I wanted to develop a program that military families could take with them as they journey from one part of the country to the next. With the support of Lendlease, parent company for Fort Hood Family Housing, the Military Lemonade Day program was formed in 2017. This collaboration provided the opportunity to share Lemonade Day’s experiential entrepreneurship program with other military bases and bring military families together in a meaningful way.
Military children have a natural propensity towards entrepreneurship by virtue of the environment in which they are raised. Through their distinctive experiences, they learn to adapt to change, embrace adversity, and solve problems. These are qualities many successful entrepreneurs exhibit. They see the world through a different lens going through not only desirable but also adverse situations. Their parents and the military community encourage them to take advantage of every moment and I believe this helps them bring a distinctive methodology to their lemonade day business.
I see so many common attributes in military kids that you see in military leaders: confidence, determination, mission oriented, and strategic thinking, to name a few. I love observing the reaction of post Commanders and other military leaders during Lemonade Day and see kids beaming with pride.
Kids put their newly acquired skills from the Lemonade Day business lessons to use quickly. It’s incredible watching kids see the consumer’s reaction to their lemonade stand and the products they’ve envisioned. I see them transform into empowered individuals whose hard work is acknowledged. It’s very affirming to know that everything we’ve been doing makes a difference for these kids and helps bring a typical childhood ‘rite of passage’ to them. Lemonade Day kids seem happier and healthier but also embrace paying it forward to others. That’s very heartwarming and it is changing their lives.
The Month of the Military Child is a very special time to celebrate the incredible fortitude of these fantastic kids.
I’m Maria Reed and I’m an active duty military spouse with two children. I’m also a designer and have been a teacher. I was named 2019 Armed Forces Insurance ARMY Spouse of the Year and created Moving with the Military. My own entrepreneurial journey began with a lemonade stand. I remember talking with my parents about different lemonade flavors and cookies that would be so amazing no one could resist stopping by my stand to get a cool refreshing drink and pick up a sweet treat. I think back to that time and smile, because I believe that my lemonade stand experience set in motion the entrepreneurial spirit I have today. I’m looking forward to sharing my skills with the future leaders of our country.
I live and walk the military lifestyle. I watch these military kids take lemons and make lemonade all the time. The Month of the Military Child celebrates all they do and all they sacrifice.
For the Design-a-Stand event, I’ll bring my design experience and career as a teacher to help kids build something that may inspire their own entrepreneurial journey and empower the lives of other military families. While I’m very familiar with Month of the Military Child, this will be my first Lemonade Day. I’m so excited to help make a difference. This year’s Lemonade Day on post will be amazing.
All military families at Fort Hood are invited to the Design-a-Stand event on Saturday, April 13 from 10:00 am to noon at the Bronco Youth Center. Register on Eventbrite.
Lemonade Day Fort Hood Area will be held the weekend of May 4 and 5. For more information on locations celebrating the Lemonade Day season and to register a child, visit lemonadeday.org/find-your-city.