A zebra with only half his stripes, a pack of hungry nut-seeking squirrels and enough movie treats to make any child’s eyes light up made for an unforgettable family outing during National Families Week.
Pepper Penguin, Navy’s popular mascot who helps Defence families with young children manage the pressures of deployment, absences and life in the Services, also joined in the fun.
National Families Week forms part of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy. It is an Australian Government initiative designed to give families, young people and communities the opportunity to build better futures. National Families Week is held annually and coincides with the United Nations International Day of Families on 15 May 2014.
Cerberus’ DCO has participated in National Families Week since 2006 and believes the event is significant for Defence families as well as the rest of the nation. The National Families Week theme ‘Stronger Families, Stronger Communities’ mirrors Defence’s aims of an inclusive and connected Defence community.
The Commanding Officer of HMAS Cerberus, Captain Stephen Bowater, stressed how important support for Defence families is and how characters such as Able Seaman Pepper Penguin and his DCO friends, Sapper Pat and Tyler Turtle, are a great resource for families, children and schools.
“Our Defence families make incredible sacrifices so our service men and women can do their jobs for the people of Australia. It’s hard to go to sea or on posting without that contact with your partner or child, but we do it because that’s our reality. It’s a harder reality for our families left behind,” said Captain Bowater.
“DCO makes a difference for our Defence families and they help us all to remember and strengthen our family ties. They’re here to support the whole Defence community, from counselling and advice, through to hosting events and activities like this one to remind us that we really are one big family, one unique community.”
Sometimes, building a stronger family can be as simple coming together to watch a couple of movies, sharing some popcorn and laughing together. DCO encourages all Defence families to find the time to share the good moments in life with your own family and your extended Defence family.