The program, reactivated with news of the six-month deployment of the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing to the Middle East, provides military families with a variety of free family recreational activities at city venues, like swimming pools, Zoo Boise, Idaho Ice World, fire stations and city community centers.
“These men and women, our neighbors, are leaving their jobs, homes, families and community behind to fight extremism on our behalf,” said Mayor Bieter. “While these tokens of appreciation are small compared to their sacrifice, I believe we have an obligation to these service members and their families to make their separation a little more tolerable. We truly hope they enjoy and take advantage of these events.”
More than 500 members of the 124th Fighter Wing were deployed last month as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led effort to eliminate ISIS and the threat the terrorist group poses to Iraq, Syria, and the wider international community.
“In order for the Idaho National Guard to be successful in our mission, we rely on the support from our families and our community,” said Maj. Gen. Gary L. Sayler, Commanding General, Idaho National Guard. “Our personnel must be able to deploy with a focus on the mission, knowing that our families and the home front are in good hands. ‘Our Troops, Our Families’ is key to our mission’s success. We are truly fortunate to come from a community such as ours; one that continuously supports the mission. For that we’re very grateful.”
Opportunities for military families include:
- Family Fire Station Saturday (May 14, 1-5 p.m.) - Families are invited to be special guests at Boise Fire Department Station 15 (3676 E. Warm Springs Ave.) and Station 14 (2515 S. Five Mile Road)
- Computer Saturday (May 21) – Families can make reservations to bring their computer to experts from the City of Boise’s Information Technology Department for trouble-shooting and repairs. Please call (208) 384-3767 for an appointment. Also, Neurilink, also will have complementary webcams on-hand to allow family member to Skype with their deployed loved ones.
- Third Thursday Family Pool Parties (every third Thursday in June, July and August, 6-10 p.m.) – Families are invited to city pools for field games, picnic-style dinner and swimming.
- Idaho Ice World (June 18 and Aug. 13, 6-10 p.m.; 7072 S. Eisenman Road) – Family hours are from 6-9 p.m., while youth-drop off is from 6-10 p.m. A dinner reception will be held from 6-7 p.m. and military families will have exclusive use of the rink from 7-9 p.m.
- Parents’ Night Out (July 9, 6-10 p.m.) – Parents can drop off their third- to eighth-graders for an evening of supervised activities at the Fort Boise Community Center (700 N. Robbins Road) Dinner, activities, a movie on a big screen and art activities will keep the children busy while parents enjoy an evening break.
- Parents’ Day Out (July 26, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) – Art camp (8 a.m.-noon), lunch and other activities await third- to eight-graders at Morley Nelson Community Center (7701 W. Northview Street).
- Zoo Boise Day (July 23, 5:30-8:30 p.m.) - Free admission to all military members, their families, veterans and retirees with a valid military identification or other proof of service.
‘Our Troops, Our Families’ website.
The City of Boise is also looking to partner with local restaurants or catering companies to provide food for military families at these events. To learn more or offer support, please contact Diana Lachiondo, Director of Community Partnerships at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 384-4406.
Mayor Bieter called upon the larger community to join the city in finding ways to support military families during the deployment.
“We must do more,” Mayor Bieter said. “I strongly urge everyone in our community, from local businesses to individuals, to do whatever they can to lend a hand with the military families in their area. Whether it’s volunteering to do the weekly shopping, delivering a prepared meal or just raking your neighbor’s lawn, there are many ways we can repay these families for their service to our nation.”