By Andrea Frydl, Contributing Writer
On July 17, more than 200 children attended the National Cancer Institute at Frederick and Fort Detrick 17th annual Take Your Child Work Day (TYCTWD), informally coined “Kids’ Day” by campus employees.
This year’s event had more than 40 different activities for kids to participate in—from writing their names in Braille, to hearing whether Goldilocks was guilty of breaking and entering in mock court, to learning how to make goo in a lab. Kids raved about seeing a protein in 3D imagery and learning how to unlock the mysteries of the brain in a neuroscience research activity. Near the registration tents, children could pet various animals like alpacas, horses, and dogs. Fort Detrick firefighters also made an appearance to show kids what the inside of a fire truck was like.
The day’s activities began at 8 a.m. with registration: children and their parents picked up name badges and other materials. The day ended at 3 p.m., when kids made their way through the 95-degree weather back to their parents’ cars or workplaces to cool off.
“We were really happy to see a successful event this year. We made sure we were prepared for the heat by having lots of water available and the cooling station, compliments of the Fort Detrick Fire Department,” said Melissa Porter, chair of the TYCTWD Planning Committee. “We’re really grateful for all the people who helped out to make this a great day for everyone involved. We couldn’t make this happen without the help of all our great volunteers.”
A cooling station with free water was placed at the Hub. In Building 549, Rita’s Italian Ice was available, and an episode of “The Magic School Bus” played on loop in the auditorium in case kids (or their parents) needed a rest from running around in the heat.
Children attending TYCTWD are between the ages of 6 and 13, and are chaperoned by employees of NCI at Frederick and Fort Detrick. Additionally, partners from both agencies volunteered their time at the event by acting as escorts and manning the moon bounce and other activities. These agencies also participated by bringing their own activities and sponsoring programs for the children.
Each year, activities feature a range of science, fun, and learning, to make it a worthwhile experience for the kids. Parents often bring their children back each year to partake in activities they may have missed the prior year. “It’s been really great to be a part of Kids’ Day year in and year out, especially now that my own kids can come and enjoy all the hard work we’ve done. It really makes it worthwhile,” said Julie Hartman, a member of the TYCTWD Planning Committee.
Every July, NCI at Frederick and Fort Detrick host TYCTWD. For more information, visit http://ncifrederick.cancer.gov/Events/ChildrensDay/Default.aspx.