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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 30, 2024

Month of the Military Child: Base Kodiak honors military youth

By Keisha Reynolds, MyCG Staff

No matter the size or location of your Coast Guard base — Month of the Military Child reminds us of the opportunities to appreciate the sacrifices and the contributions of our nation’s military children throughout the year. 

Base Kodiak’s Director of Youth Activities Jennifer Simeonoff acknowledges the importance of supporting youth through the military transitions that they experience. Simeonoff said, “A large part of my job is running the Teen Center for ages 10-17. It is at these ages that kids struggle the most with military transfers.”  

“There are new communities to navigate, new schools to figure out and they have to build a new social network. Services they may have enjoyed in Kodiak, like the Teen Center, may not exist at their new location. There are only four miliary teen centers in all of the Coast Guard,” she said. 

As Simeonoff sees it, “they [military children] make sacrifices too and this is why it is important to take the time to recognize and lift-up our miliary kids.” Simeonoff also acknowledges a local family whose children exemplify Coast Guard values.  

The Goodison family has three siblings who have been active on Base Kodiak, in the Teen Center and in the community:  

Liam Goodison (age 14) has been selected as the Military Youth for the Year for Base Kodiak. He is also the president of the Base Kodiak Keystone Club; a member of the Military Teen Steering Committee; a member of last year’s Operation Megaphone Committee, and is a Patrol Leader in Boy Scouts and has made the high honor roll.  

Ansley Goodison (age 12) won first place in the Alaska Society for Technology in Education Idida Contest in Social Studies for the state of Alaska. She is the President of the Base Kodiak Torch Club and is also a high honor roll student. 

Norah Goodison (age 10) is a new member of Basic Kodiak’s Teen Center and plays volleyball through the MWR program.  

Liam comments on his experience as a military child. He said, “Being a miliary child is not easy but I feel appreciated and that our struggles have been recognized.” 

Norah, Liam’s younger sister, agreed with her brother. “I think the Month of the Miliary Child means that we celebrate military families and their children who have been brave and strong,” she added. 

The Month of the Military Child was created by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in 1986. It was designated in April as a way to honor the significant roles that military youth throughout our Nation play within our communities. And, considering the remarks from the Goodisons, the month continues to have impact. 

Ansley summarized the benefit of being a military child from her perspective. “Being a miliary child is something that some people take for granted. While it may take a while to appreciate the value of early exposure to new places and how the country works, it is an experience that will most likely benefit you in the future,” she said. 

The Base Kodiak Morale, Well-Being and Recreation (MWR) staff put together a festive month of April that engaged and recognized youth who attend the base’s programming. Throughout the Month of the Military Child, Base Kodiak’s MWR office offered free bowling, swimming and goodies such as free popcorn, ice-cream and soda. They also had a teen social, laser tag, and a Hunger Games night with games that were modeled from the popular book and movie series. The base also hosted family activities like human foosball, kite flying, skating, and a Purple Up Parade — a celebration where people wear purple to show support and gratitude to military children from their strength and sacrifices.