Anthony Puntel of the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal team lets Camp Sunshine camper Aidan try on a bomb suit during Navy Week at the camp in Casco on Wednesday. Puntel is one of four such technicians who showed children equipment and answered questions about how his team protects troops from explosives. 

CASCO — Can sailors rap?

At Camp Sunshine on Wednesday, the Navy Band Northeast proved indeed they can.

While dozens of children and their families watched with wide smiles and dancing bodies, not only was there fun, but learning, too.

This week is the 204th Navy Week since 2005, and the Navy Office of Community Outreach visited Camp Sunshine to bring awareness and education to families about the Navy, as well as demonstrate some key aspects of being a sailor.

Besides the Navy Band, which played current hits such as Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” families were rotated through different stations, each one educating them about key components of the Navy.

Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians had a variety of bomb disposal equipment, including a robot the children could drive. Campers could also try on the “bomb suit,” which technicians wear to minimize damage from an explosion while diffusing a bomb.

The SeaPerch was another station. The little underwater robot is similar to the robots used by the Navy. Campers could drive it in Camp Sunshine’s indoor pool and learn about the technologies the Navy uses.

History lessons were given as well. Cecilia Sequeira and Commander Keith Richards from the Naval History and Heritage Command impressed upon the campers the importance of learning from history.

Sequeira used the analogy of burning one’s hand on a stove. Once it happens, they learn not to touch it again.

“That’s why you want to remember mistakes and learn from them,” Sequeira said. “We must preserve history through artifacts and written accounts.”

Gary Ross, lead planner for Navy Week, said it began in 2005, when service chiefs and senior officers from military branches gathered for a briefing. A Gallup Poll showed the Navy was the least likable branch of service.

So, Navy Week was born to engage with the public and educate people about why the Navy is so crucial.

Michael Katz, executive director of Camp Sunshine, said they enjoy a “great partnership” with the Navy, which often assists in fundraising events.

“We want to give the kids a magical experience — anything new and unique. This is something the parents can enjoy too, while bringing awareness to Camp Sunshine and the Navy,” Katz said.

Camp Sunshine on Sebago Lake inspires hope for families whose children are affected by life-threatening illness. The camp is free.

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Evan Barroso of the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal team shows Camp Sunshine camper Thomas how to operate a “first look robot” during Navy Week at the camp in Casco on Wednesday. Barroso is one of four such technicians who showed children equipment and answered questions about how his team protects troops from explosives. 

Matthew Martin of the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal team fits Camp Sunshine camper Aidan with a technician’s vest while Thomas experiments with the team’s metal detector during Navy Week at the camp in Casco on Wednesday. Martin is one of four such technicians who showed children equipment and answered questions about how his team protects troops from explosives. 

Matthew Martin of the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal team shows Camp Sunshine campers Aidan, left, and Brogan how a TITAN disruptor works during Navy Week at the camp in Casco on Wednesday. The disruptor fires a single shell at an explosive ordinance in an attempt to disrupt the ordinance and leave it useless. 

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