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The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families Unveils Colorful New Ride and Kicks Off Eight-Month Stateside Tour

Bus Debuts at Scott Air Force Base, Now Heading to More Than 65 Bases to Perform More Than 235 New Shows with Help from New Character, Katie

TWITTER:  Follow, @the_USO and @SESAME STREET to check out Elmo’s new ride and meet Katie!

ARLINGTON, VA. (April 9, 2012) – The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families kicked off its new eight-month adventure across the U.S. at Scott Air Force Base on April 7 with a fresh new look and feel.  Debuting Elmo and friends’ new tricked out ride, “The Sesame Street/USO Tour Bus.” The tour showcased its newest show centered around military relocations, a common challenge facing today’s military community.  The Sesame Street/USO Experience is the USO’s longest running, free traveling tour and is based on Sesame Street’s award-winning Military Families Initiative.

Wrapped in hundreds of yards of vinyl by a team of skilled designers based in Orlando, “The Sesame Street/USO Tour Bus” took two days to be transformed from an everyday tour bus to a soup’ed up new set of wheels.  Splashed with vibrant colors, smiling Muppets, and a powerful message of supporting America’s military families, a time lapse video of the bus wrapping process was created using more than 3,000 still photos layered on top of one another. See video.

Along for the roadside adventure is Elmo’s new friend, Katie – a military child who is experiencing the stresses of moving as her parents are being transferred to a new duty station.  Created exclusively for this tour, Katie was first introduced to military families in April 2011 by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at a Joining Forces rally in Columbus, OH.

Details:

  • The tour is scheduled to roll onto more than 65 military installations across the country and perform more than 235 high-energy shows before concluding in November 2012.
  • Produced in partnership with VEE, this year’s tour celebrates the power of friendship as Elmo and his Sesame pals help Katie – and military tots across the U.S. – maneuver through their fears and excitement of relocation and making new friends with ease.  Letting them know they’re not alone, the 30-minute character performance teaches one of life’s biggest lessons and provides giveaways and outreach materials to military families who attend.
  • Last year, the tour visited 52 military bases and lifted the spirits of more than 55,000 military families in nine countries.
  • The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families made its debut in July 2008 to help families deal with the challenges of deployment and homecomings.
  • Since the tour’s inception four years ago, the tour has taken its message to more than 248,000 troops and military families, and performed 433 shows on 131 military bases in 33 states and eleven countries.
  • In total, the tour has logged more than 106,500 miles and distributed more than 1.6 million giveaways.
  • The tour is designed specifically for military families and is the longest-running tour in the USO’s 71-year history.  It is also the USO’s first-ever traveling tour.
  • To learn more about the tour, to see the bus being transformed, and/or to learn where the show is visiting next, visituso.org/sesame

Quotes:

Attributed to Sloan Gibson, USO president and CEO:

“We couldn’t have hoped for a better partner than Sesame Workshop or picked a better month to kick off our latest phase than April, the Month of the Military Child.  The USO has been supporting troops and their families for more than seventy-one years and this tour is a continuation of just that.  With the help of friends like Elmo, Cookie Monster and Katie as well as happy songs, we are able to lift the spirits of our nation’s military children like never before.”
Attributed to Melvin Ming, Sesame Workshop president and CEO:

“The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families is near and dear to the heart of Sesame Workshop, and we are thrilled to call the USO our partner on this adventure,” said H. Melvin Ming, Sesame Workshop President and CEO.  “Our goal is to reach as many military children and their families as we can with Elmo and Katie’s messages of hope and resilience.  And as we begin our sixth phase of this tour, we are proud to see the number of troops and their families reached by this effort only grow.” 

Attributed to Sesame Street’s Elmo

“Elmo is so excited to come and see all his military friends and family. We’ll sing fun songs and even learn something with Elmo, Rosita, Cookie Monster and Katie. See you there!”

Attributed to Katie, new Sesame Street character “I can’t wait to meet everyone and make lots of new friends. It’s always great to have friendly faces in different places!”

Multimedia:

USO/Sesame Street B-roll: https://uso.box.net/shared/ak19b33oel

USO/Sesame Street Tour Photos: http://bit.ly/HtSrLO

Sesame Street Logo: https://uso.box.net/shared/3l01s84odb

USO Logo: https://uso.box.net/shared/6q5cq0siij

USO/Sesame Street Tour Photo: https://uso.box.net/shared/hujhnjttji

USO/Sesame Street Fact Sheet: https://uso.box.net/shared/2yivihtocq

Social Media and Other Web Sites:

Twitter:           http://twitter.com/the_USO and http://twitter.com/SESAMESTREET
Facebook:        www.facebook.com/theUSO and www.facebook.com/SesameStreetForMilitaryFamilies

Blog:                http://blog.uso.org

YouTube:         www.youtube.com/user/USO4troops
Web:                www.uso.org and www.familiesnearandfar.org

About the USO

The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen.

The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. We rely on the generosity of our volunteers and donors.  In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: American Airlines, AT&T, Clear Channel, Kangaroo Express, Kroger, Lowe’s, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Procter & Gamble, and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Lockheed Martin, and Microsoft Corporation. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381).  To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street.  The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 140 countries, and other acclaimed shows to help bridge the literacy gap including The Electric Company.  Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health and military deployment. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning.  Learn more atwww.sesameworkshop.org.

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