News: Camp Confidence: The importance of mentorship
Story by Spc. Paul Holston
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - It is a privilege to tell the Army’s story through images and articles and being able to inform the public of the great things service members do for this country, both at home and overseas.
It is even better whenever the opportunity arises to showcase Fort Bragg and military life. This was the case of a recent visit of a group of teenagers who came to Fort Bragg to tour the installation talk to soldiers in many different career fields. The teens got an expanded knowledge of the Army as a whole, as well as a closer look at soldiers’ daily lives and routines.
This is the second year teenagers from a program known as “Camp Confidence,” a summer camp run by the Cary, N.C., Police Department. The department hosted from 20 to 30 young men who are getting ready to enter high school. These young men were evaluated by their school resource officers as youth who could take the wrong path if not given some guidance in the right direction.
The goal of the Cary Police Department’s was to show the youths various opportunities that could be theirs if they keep on the right track and finish high school.
It is not only the police department’s mission to help these young men get on the right path, it is also up to members of the community to help these youth gain a new perspective not only on their lives, but their future as well.
On July 31, about 15 teenagers and five Cary police officers toured different Fort Bragg facilities and interacted with soldiers. They visited the United States Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, where they learned about the team’s history and organization. They were also able to try on some of the team’s equipment to get a real feel for what soldiers do on a daily basis.
When lunchtime rolled around, the group stopped in at the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade dining facility to be able to see (and taste) how far the Army has come since the days of C-rations.
After lunch, the group headed to the 82nd Airborne Division Museum, where they learned about one of the most prestigious units in the Army. As they toured that facility they learned about rich history and tradition of the All American Soldiers.
Following the tour of the museum, the group went to the Parachute Packing Facility where they learned about parachute riggers and the procedures for packing parachutes for airborne operations. The teens also had the opportunity to try on full parachute equipment to get a realistic feel for airborne operations and jumping out of airplanes.
The tour concluded with a visit to the Combat Control School at Pope Field, where they learned how Airmen train to become combat controllers.
Throughout the day, the young men seemed thrilled and excited about the information and knowledge gained from the Soldiers with whom they interacted. Some of the teens wanted to learn more after the tour and some said they were even considering joining the military in the future.
The underlying theme of the day seemed to be mentorship — the need for the community to commit to mentoring youths of today. The teens on the visit were considered borderline, heading in the wrong direction. Maybe all they need is someone to point them in the right direction and show them that there are other options that will make them better, more productive citizens.
The time spent with a young person, building a trusted relationship, and guiding him/her to become a better person is a dedicated commitment. If a person has wisdom and experience to share with others, especially those who are less experienced or less knowledgeable, they should share it.