Teal Up campaign celebrates military kids


Advertise with us

CFB SHILO — Hundreds of people turned out on April 27 to show support for a campaign that celebrates the resilience of military children who can face challenges growing up in a family with a member in the military.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

We need your support!
Local journalism needs your support!

As we navigate through unprecedented times, our journalists are working harder than ever to bring you the latest local updates to keep you safe and informed.

Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Starting at $14.99 plus taxes every four weeks you can access your Brandon Sun online and full access to all content as it appears on our website.

Subscribe Now

or call circulation directly at (204) 727-0527.

Your pledge helps to ensure we provide the news that matters most to your community!

CFB SHILO — Hundreds of people turned out on April 27 to show support for a campaign that celebrates the resilience of military children who can face challenges growing up in a family with a member in the military.

Having started at Canadian Forces Base Shilo a couple of years ago, the Teal Up for Military Kids campaign has since spread across Canada.

“I’m so overwhelmed with emotions,” event co-founder Stephanie Laviolette said of the crowd that took part at Shilo this year.

Quinn Hart (right) and Albert (last name unavailable) carry a sign during a support walk at the Teal Up for Military Kids event at CFB Shilo on April 27. The event, which celebrates the resiliency of military kids, got its start in Shilo and has spread across the country. (Ian Hitchen/Brandon Sun)

“It’s joyous and incredible to see everybody in the Shilo community come together for all these kids, and seeing all the kids, how excited they were, it was amazing.”

The Teal Up for Military Kids campaign was started at CFB Shilo in April 2021 by Shannon Chapman, a youth programs co-ordinator at the Shilo Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC), and Laviolette, who was youth programs facilitator for the Shilo MFRC at the time. Laviolette has since moved with her family to Ontario, but they returned to Shilo to support the Teal Up event.

Chapman said Teal Up is now celebrated in 32 schools and military family resource centres across Canada.

“That schools are individually taking it on as well is really neat to see,” Chapman said. “Not only schools, businesses are starting to pick it up. So now it’s not just military family resource centres, it’s actually across Canada at multiple locations.”

Chapman and Laviolette started the Teal Up campaign as a way to support military children who face challenges growing up. The annual campaign recognizes the resiliency of military children during the Month of the Military Child.

Children of Armed Forces members often move and have to leave schools, activities and friends behind. Loved ones in the military can be absent from home for long deployments, training and exercises.

Supporters were encouraged to wear teal in respect for the strength of military children. Teal is the event’s colour because it’s a mix of the hues that represent branches of the military — blue for air force, green for army, blue/white for navy. Supporters were also asked to tie teal ribbons to fences.

At CFB Shilo, the Teal Up flag was raised on April 3, and on April 27 a Show of Support walk between the MFRC and the base’s schools was followed in the evening with a barbecue.

During the walk, military members joined children who wore Teal Up T-shirts and stickers and other children and adults lined portions of the route to wave encouragement to the walkers.

Laviolette’s husband, Ben, was a member of 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry for more than 10 years and served in Afghanistan. Training and domestic deployments — helping during Manitoba floods, for example — also took him away from home.

A former military kid himself, he said the families of military members aren’t praised enough for their support.

“They need to be acknowledged a little bit more,” said Ben, who has since retired from the military. “Because, they get their hugs and stuff like that, they know that they’re special to their parents, but to be like, ‘OK, you guys are awesome,’ you give them their own day, month, I think it’s pretty cool.”

The Laviolettes’ son, 19-year-old Diekyn, who will follow in his dad’s footsteps as he’s in the process of enlisting, acknowledged it was hard growing up a military kid with friends coming and going with their families’ postings.

But Diekyn said there were positives, too. Military children who are friends and split up may meet again when they are older, but they still share a special bond as military kids, he said.

“It makes you stronger, too. More resilient, socially,” Diekyn said of being a kid in a military family. “If something bad happens in some sort of social aspect, it’s easier for you to cope with it than with other people who are civilian side, grew up with civilian parents.”

With friends coming and going, or leaving a community to join another themselves, Diekyn said, military children can be used to being alone and better able to deal with social isolation or negative social aspects like bullying. Moving also encourages military kids to make friends and be social, he said.

This year, local Teal Up organizers also reached out to local schools by providing kits to help military children and children in civilian families deal with the stress military life can put on friendships. The kits deal with such subjects as regulating emotions and healthy friendships.

“It’s a resource to support all people in the classroom,” said Shilo MFRC youth facilitator Nicole Gamsyager.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us

Westman this Week