August 8, 2007

2nd annual Virginia Guard Youth Camp offers youngsters fun-filled week

Campers enjoyed trips to both Ocean Breeze Water Park and Busch Gardens during the week-long Virginia National Guard Youth Camp. (Photo by Capt. Pamela Garner, 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

By Capt. Pamela Garner
192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH – More than 80 excited campers and 12 teen leaders belonging to Virginia National Guard families arrived at Camp Pendleton’s State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach to participate in the second annual Virginia National Guard Summer Youth Camp beginning June 24.

“This weeklong camp, staffed by 45 members of Guard volunteers, family program staff and the Virginia Defense Force, was designed to provide campers with resources that will help them cope with deployment as well as giving them a network of friends dealing with the same kind of issues,” said Kay Baber, director of the youth summer camp.

During the weeklong camp, they participated in everything from team building exercises and youth sports to responsibility and leadership training. The campers also learned about creatures on the beach presented by the Virginia Science Museum. 

Shonte’ Holcomb, a camp counselor, admitted that “Beach Creatures” was her favorite activity because she enjoyed watching the children share their ideas, thoughts and experiences.

Austin Harrison (left) and Taylor Kearney (right) participate in a team-building exercise. During the weeklong camp, they participated in everything from team building exercises and youth sports to responsibility and leadership training. (Photo by Capt. Pamela Garner, 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

One common denominator that many of the campers shared was that at least one of their parents had been deployed at one time or another. To help the campers learn about community support resources available to them, they participated in a mid-week activity called “The Deployment Dash.” Some of the support services represented included- Kids Serve 2, American Veterans, Our Military Kids, Drug Demand Reduction, Operation Military Kids, the Family Assistance Center, the Military YMCA and 4-H.

The campers rotated visits between each resource table for about six minutes and then on a musical signal, moved to another table to gather as much information as possible about their resources for youth.

The campers received a surprise visit on June 25 by their parents’ top boss, Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, the Adjutant General of Virginia. He spoke to the campers as he stopped by classes in session which included the Drug Maze, Arts and Crafts, the “How Electricity Works” class and “Drama Kids.” The campers were very relaxed around him and some of them even requested his autograph.

The campers also had some fun in the sun during the week with trips to Ocean Breeze Water Park in Virginia Beach and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.

“This was the second year for the National Guard Summer Youth Program,” Baber said, “and we would like to see it expand to other areas throughout Virginia. We appreciate having the support from all the volunteers, the community and especially the parents for allowing their children to participate. This program would not have been as successful without the volunteers.”

Click HERE to return to the top of the page ~ Click HERE to return to the news directory