Celebrity performers extend America’s gratitude through visits to USO centers around the world. Depending upon location, concert ticket donations from major entertainers and touring groups can be obtained through our centers while local tours and travel information can be obtained by troops and their families to enjoy. Troops can also relax and watch a game or a movie in our lounges or compete against each other with our gaming systems. For the holidays, the centers routinely transform into celebration spots, complete with events, dinners and care packages.
USO Houston offers the following entertainment opportunities for local troops and military families:
USO Centers. Elite, military-only lounges in Bush Intercontinental and Hobby Airports and the Ellington Field JRB Welcome Center that cater to troops and military family members, providing a ‘touch of home’ atmosphere where we convey the public’s appreciation for our military. Amenities include free wireless Internet and computer access, video gaming rooms, kitchens, televisions, lounge chairs, reading rooms, and designated play areas for children. USO volunteers are on-hand to assist with travel arrangements and information on local services and programs offered by the surrounding military support community.
Team USO BBQ. Since 2012, the USO has hosted a tent exclusively for troops, veterans, and military families at the massive Houston Rodeo BBQ Cook-off. For two full days, Team USO BBQ provides delicious barbeque and musical entertainment free of charge to anyone with a military ID or with military-related insignia on their clothing. In 2012 we hosted 2,000 troops, with title sponsor Direct Energy’s cook team cooking hundreds of pounds of meat, and BBQ legend Johnny Trigg competing out of our tent.[Check out Team USO BBQ photos here .]
Major League Sports and Corporate Partnerships. The USO fosters partnerships with professional sports teams, enabling them to more robustly reach local troops and military families. Locally, we prioritize sports opportunities for deploying or redeploying troops and the families of deployed troops ahead of the general military population.
TACT. For two years in a row, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has selected the USO to be the charity beneficiary of his Texans All-Community Team (TACT), donating 20 tickets to USO Houston for each home game. USO Houston holds drawings the Mondays prior to each home game to randomly select the lucky service members and their families who will attend the games. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to enter your name in the drawing. [Check out TACT photos here.]
Cheering Children. USO Houston is one of two beneficiaries of the Houston Texans Foundation’s Cheering Children program, wherein season ticket holders donate their game day tickets back to the Foundation. Tickets are generally received only a day or two before the games and are advertised on our Facebook page, on a first come, first served basis.
NFL Salute to Service Week. Each season the Houston Texans host a week-long military appreciation effort in November, with USO Houston being one of three military/veteran-related charity partners. USO Houston connects local troops and military families with the activities, to include a BBQ at Reliant Stadium and an open practice.
Houston Dynamo. USO Houston major sponsor, Direct Energy, connects troops with opportunities with the Houston Dynamo soccer team. The inaugural Armed Forces 4-aside soccer tournament was held in August 2013, in partnership with Direct Energy, Banded Brigade Outdoors, USO Houston, and the Houston Dynamo. Direct Energy also donates the use of a party suite and over one hundred game tickets for local troops each season. [Check out 4-aside photos here.]
Pro vs. GI Joe.* The USO partners with Pro vs. GI Joe to provide deployed troops the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go head-to-head against their favorite professional athletes in an exciting video game competition via the Internet. The Pro vs. GI Joe program matches a troop against a “pro” and brings them together in a real-time video game competition. The troops play in USO Centers all over the world while the professional athletes play back home. Family members of troops stationed abroad are also encouraged to attend the events stateside and often surprise their loved one via Webcam. Troops and professional athletes use the same equipment: big screen television monitor, webcam monitor, gaming console and gaming tag. The end result is an awesome gaming experience for both Pros and GI Joes all over the world.
game on Resiliency Program.* In partnership with the USO, game on is bringing their team of highly skilled communication consultants to share resiliency techniques with service members. Their engaging, interactive games and exercises get troops and military family members on their feet and moving toward positive change. game on training shares tangible outcomes you can see, feel, and measure.
The game on team has trained the world’s top athletes, teams, and corporations, with an impressive client list including: NASCAR, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, NFLPA Rookie Symposium, Florida State Football, SEC Sponsors Annual Conference, Gatorade Sport Science Institute and the U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer team. Since its founding in 1997, game on has become one of the most respected firms in communication, leadership, character development, and media training.
The USO Show Troupe.* The USO Show Troupe is a professional singing and performing group, which supports the USO’s 72-year commitment to lifting the spirits of the troops and their families through entertainment. The USO Show Troupe travels throughout the world performing for servicemen and women, their families, veterans and audiences that actively support our troops. Their performances combine complex vocal harmonies, solo performances, dancing and an array of patriotic costumes and contemporary costumes.
The USO Show Troupe experience goes far beyond the USO’s famous canteen-like shows to take the audience to a place of patriotism and appreciation for all our troops and their families do to protect the freedoms Americans enjoy daily. The USO Show Troupe makes more than 300 appearances throughout the year at deployment and homecoming ceremonies, veteran’s homes and hospitals, aboard ships and at military installations, professional sporting events and at many corporate and fundraising events.
The USO Show Troupe plays for audiences of troops and military families free of charge. To schedule shows, contact USO Houston for booking and costs.
* Inquire with USO Houston staff for further details