Ghouls, goblins roam free at ASYMCA

27 Oct 2011 | Pfc. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

The parking lot of Tarawa Terrace’s plaza was crowded with superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs and horror movie monsters during Little Ghouls and Goblins, a costume event heldaboard the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune housing area, Oct 27.

On a blocked-off area of the parking lot, the Armed Services YMCA held the free for military families, giving them the opportunity to network and introduces them to what the ASYMCA has to offer.

“There’s not a lot of stuff for the kids to do here in Jacksonville, and when (there are events like this), it’s a good time to communicate with other military wives, especially when your spouse is deployed,” said Lahoma Harper, a participant at the event.

The planning began in August when Barbara Robinson, program director for ASYMCA began canvassing for donations.

“It took a lot of legwork,” said Robinson. “It was a completely free event (because) everything was donated.”

With a slew of families that greatly exceeded the ASYMCA’s pre-registrations and expectations, the ASYMCA was able to provide a fun event, with costume and coloring contests, food, a bounce house and plenty of activities to go around.

Amanda Veneziani, a participant at the event, who appreciated the no-cost event during tough times thought it was a good event to get out of the house.

“It’s nice to know that they care enough to do events for the family and for the kids,” said Caitlin Wilson, who was at the event with her husband and son. “It’s outstanding that they’re willing to do that.”

With the goal of “Serving those who serve America,” the ASYMCA provides programs such as Sights for Students, where school-aged military children and teenagers can receive an eye exam and glasses for free; Operation Homefront where military children can receive a homemade pillow or a blanket with their deployed parents picture on it; and Mini Movers, a bi-monthly group where parents and children play. 

The event had several volunteers who helped with the event, including Marines.

“Being able to see kids enjoy the time, have fun and make memories, is something I won’t forget,” said Cpl. Donte Houston with II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, who volunteered at the event. “Everybody should get involved with their YMCA. It’ll bring them a lot of joy.”

Little Ghouls and Goblins went beyond Robinson’s expectations.

“It was a major success,” she said.

For more information about future USYMCA events call 450-0497 to be added to their email mailing list or check their calendar on