News: Military youth tackle physical, mental challenges while building lasting friendships
Story by Pfc. Christopher Enderle
DELAFIELD, Wis. — More than 100 Wisconsin children were presented a unique opportunity to attend a youth camp, held at St. John's Northwestern Military Academy, Aug. 9-11.
The Wisconsin National Guard Youth Camp is an annual camp for children between the ages of eight and 17. This is the first time in the camp's 21 years it's been held at the military academy.
The camp is designed to give children a feel for what their parents or family members do within the armed forces, and to help create a bond with other people who are in similar situations, explained Tina Jeffords, Wisconsin National Guard lead child and youth program coordinator.
"Anytime you can get these kids together and let them build these friendships, and build these bonds, when and if that deployment happens, it's going to benefit them," said Jeffords as a group of kids marched in formation behind her. "There are kids who've started at age eight, and when they age out at 18 they come back as volunteers, and still talk to kids they went to camp with years ago."
D.J. Grundy of Waterford, Wis., recommends that anyone who can go should go to Youth Camp, not only because of the events that you get to participate in but also because of the people you meet.
"They're people you've never met before, and right away you just start clicking with everybody," said Grundy while others were scuba diving in the pool next to him.
This was the first year at Youth Camp for Philipe Jones of Shawano, Wis., and Britanie Murphey of Necedah, Wis., yet both stated that they look forward to coming back again next year and seeing the friends they have made again.
"I have a friend here I call my half-twin," said Bryce Koback of Waterford, Wis., a camper who has been going for more than six years, and looks forward to many more. "I'm used to leaving home, going to friends' houses, but I like it here more."
Jeffords explains it's important for people to know what a military child is, and who qualifies.
"A military child is anyone who has a service member in their life, who would be affected by that member deploying," said Jeffords. "It doesn't matter if they're a dependant or not, so long as they are sponsored by a military member, they are more than welcome, no matter the branch of service.
This work, Military youth tackle physical, mental challenges while building lasting friendships, by PFC Christopher Enderle, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.