Cowboy hats should have been the order of the day for soldiers of the COVID-19 task force when they visited Texas, Queensland, to spend time reading to eager young listeners, but they stuck to their Army-issued caps.
Lieutenant Thomas McAllister, of the 20th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, and Private Nikita Booth, of the 7th Combat Signal Regiment, recently visited a Texas library in Queensland to support the First Five Forever initiative that celebrates parents, nans and pops being the main educators in a child’s first five years of life.
The Joint Task Group 629.3 soldiers have been supporting the Queensland Police Service at border checkpoints, and jumped at the chance to visit the kindergarten children.
Private Booth said the opportunity to engage with the children through reading and singing was another opportunity to be involved with the Queensland border town community.
“It’s been great to work with the Texas community, helping to keep it safe through border operations and also engaging in this fun way with the children,” Private Booth said.
“Everyone in the area has been friendly and supportive during our time here.
“The children were very excited to see us in our uniforms.
“They asked lots of questions and were such active listeners. I am really grateful for the experience.”
The First Five Forever program shares the importance of creating experiences for children to benefit their development.
The activity ended with a book presentation to the library.
Goondiwindi Council Librarian Sarah Butler said the children really appreciated the event and it was also well received by the attending parents and teachers.
“It’s wonderful to have the Australian Defence Force support us,” Ms Butler said.