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Feature July 2009

July 27th, 2009 · No Comments · Featured Musings, Home, Maiden In-The-Know

A Sisterhood of Maiden Muses aka The Traveling BDU

By Kerri Jean McManus

We have just begun to hear personal stories from veterans who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last several years, but we haven’t really heard much about the impact that these deployments have on the children of military troops. Moranda Hern and Kaylei Deakin are now putting their faces to their truth and hope to unite others in telling their own personal stories.

Hern and Deakin are two California teenagers who faced feelings of frustration and depression after their fathers, both National Guardsmen, were deployed to the Middle East. As their families faced the day-to-day challenges of life at home and the uncertainty of their fathers’ fates overseas, both girls suffered from a drop in self-esteem and felt completely isolated amongst their peers. As daughter of National Guardsmen, the girls did not live in communities with other military families and their peers did not know how to relate to the challenges that both Hern and Deakin were dealing with at home.

That changed when the girls met each other through the CA National Guard Child & Youth Program. Once they met and began talking about their common experiences as military kids, they became fast friends. Through the CA National Guard Child & Youth Program the girls were both able to attend the 2008 Women’s Conference hosted by California First Lady Maria Shriver. The mission of The Women’s Conference is, “to inspire, empower and educate women to be Architects of Change in their own lives and in the lives of others.” Hern and Deakin were so inspired by their experience at the Women’s Conference that they came up with the idea to organize a conference to connect the daughters of military troops who have gone to war, called the Sisterhood of the Traveling BDU’s (Battle Dress Uniforms).

Hern and Deakin created an outline of the conference as a PowerPoint presentation, which they showed to Brig. Gen. Mary Kight, the No. 2 commander in California’s National Guard. Brig. Gen. Kight was so impressed by the presentation, that she is doing all she can to support the teenagers in their efforts to make this conference a reality. The girls are planning the event as an annual 2-day Conference in Fresno, CA in March 2010 for 400 girls, ages 13-18 years old who have immediate family members in the military.

Their goal is to provide workshops and breakout sessions that will help to connect military teens to one another, help to build their self-esteem, and help them to build leadership roles in their own communities. Hern says their mantra for building the Sisterhood is: Unite, Inspire, Lead.

Since presenting this idea to Brig. Gen. Kight, they have put together several short video clips that they have posted to Youtube to spread the word about this event and they are also seeking sponsorship from corporations, such as Google and Disney to raise money for the conference.

These two young ladies have banded together to create their own sisterhood of muses, in order to uplift and encourage each other to move forward as a community of young women who can affect positive change in the world.

To donate to the Sisterhood of the Traveling BDU’s, click here onto their website at: www.sisterhoodbdus.com

Click here to view the Sisterhood of the Traveling BDU’s Youtube clips

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