2011 is the Year of the Coast Guard Family

CAPE MAY, N.J. - Petty Officer 1st Class Lee Kaseman, a member of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, poses with his two children on a beach in Cape May June 6, 2011. This photo was selected as the winning photo for the training center’s Year of the Coast Guard Family art competition. Photo by Jaime Kaseman.

Post written by Lt. j.g. Michelle Casillo.

Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, N.J., is celebrating the “Year of the Coast Guard family.” We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for our Coast Guard members and military families by increasing the emphasis on family friendly events and programs throughout the year. With this, the training center held an art competition.

CAPE MAY, N.J. – A picture drawn by Annora Kaseman, 6, daughter of Petty Officer 1st Class Lee Kaseman, a member of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, was submitted for the training center’s Year of the Coast Guard Family art competition in June 2011. The Kaseman family won the overall art competition. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Criteria for the art competition established for members and their families were to provide any artistic representation of how they envision the Coast Guard family. Submissions were received from throughout the community including various age ranges at the child development center, as well as art work from entire families. The Kaseman family’s submissions were selected as the overall winners. The active duty member, Petty Officer 1st Class Lee Kaseman, is a company commander at the training center. His wife, Jaime Kaseman, captured the award winning photo for the competition. Their children, Annora and Wyatt Kaseman, also submitted their depictions of the Coast Guard family. The entire Kaseman family was recognized and awarded at a ceremony hosted at the all hands club during family night.

Our president has made the care and support of military families a top priority because the well-being of military families is an important indicator of the well-being of the overall force. To ensure military members and their families have the resources they need to be their best, the president, first lady, the uniformed services and other government leaders have joined forces to support this noble goal.

In the commandant’s State of the Coast Guard Address, Adm. Robert Papp declared 2011 as the year of the Coast Guard family, stating “The Health and Welfare of our people and their families are at the heart of operational readiness. Together we will improve the quality of life for our Coast Guard members and military families.”

CAPE MAY, N.J. - Petty Officer 1st Class Lee Kaseman, a member of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, poses with his two children on a beach in Cape May June 6, 2011. This photo was selected as one of the winning photos for the training center’s Year of the Coast Guard Family art competition. Photo by Jaime Kaseman.

As a result of this new focus, there has been a renewed emphasis on ensuring Coast Guard policies, programs and services are maximized to best suite our shipmates’ needs. This includes building upon those policies and programs already in existence while exploring new opportunities to provide support to military members and their families. Some of the programs that have already been impacted include child development services, health care, military housing, work-life programs, morale well-being and recreation program, and the ombudsman program.

At the training center, several of our programs have already reflected the increased support outlined in the commandant’s address. The training center’s ombudsman, Christy Ward, has voluntarily bridged a critical communication link between the command and family members, providing awareness and accessibility to individual and family support services. Mrs. Ward has dedicated herself to creating opportunities for Coast Guard families within the local community. With the help and support of other Coast Guard members, she was able to raise enough money for a Coast Guard family to send their child to a local Nature Center summer camp. This is only one example of the many opportunities the ombudsman program has created for the training center’s family members.

“I have always been amazed at the dynamics of the Coast Guard and how Coast Guard friends become part of your family almost immediately,” said Ward. “You share a common bond that cannot be described.”

The training center has also increased opportunities for Coast Guard families though its MWR program. The on-base exchange system will be undergoing a large scale renovation starting this year, profits of which directly benefit active duty members and program funds. Several family friendly events are also planned throughout the year, including weekly family nights at the All Hands club, family movie nights, teen sports activities and group trips, children’s holiday parties, family fun runs and the new “recruit for a day” opportunity.

CAPE MAY, N.J. – A picture drawn by Wyatt Kaseman, 3, son of Petty Officer 1st Class Lee Kaseman, a member of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, was submitted for the training center’s Year of the Coast Guard Family art competition in June 2011. The Kaseman family won the overall art competition. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

“Family is so important to who we are as a Coast Guard and as a service committed to serving our nation and its people,” said Capt. William Kelly, commanding officer of the training Center. “With only 40,000 plus members we truly are a family and nowhere is that more relevant than here at the training center. We are home to not only Coast Guard recruit training, but also 14 other commands and Coast Guard units. We provide housing to 174 families in the Coast Guard’s third largest housing community and we are the largest single employer in Cape May County. Over the past year we have worked hard to make the training center the best place to live, work and visit in the United States Coast Guard, and the focus on our families is a key component of this effort. The recent art contest highlights the importance of our loved ones and the picture of the Kaseman family captures our commitment to the service member and our Coast Guard families. We know that our men and women in uniform must be ready to serve anywhere and anytime, but we also know that in order to serve the Nation our families back home must be supported and cared for, as well. We’re in this together.”

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