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    Kids AT 2013

    Kids AT 2013

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Kenneth Hatten | At left, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Mario Estevane, a rescue swimmer with...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Kenneth Hatten 

    Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center

    CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - Kid’s Annual Training celebrated its 21st year as more than 100 children ages 9 through 12 from National Guard Families across Mississippi enjoyed some summertime fun at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center June 22 through 29.

    “Kids AT is part of our children and youth programs that we do with the Mississippi National Guard. We have 114 camper, all dependents of Mississippi Guardsmen and Airmen,” said Maj. Johnny Waldrop, Mississippi Army National Guard State Family Director. “We do this every year.”

    The summer camp was a week long program hosting different activities for the kids to participate in to honor and educate them on military service. The Kids’s AT campers experience a daily routine that emulates what their military parents experience while serving in the Mississippi National Guard.

    “This is an outreach program that brings the kids, to get them outside and show them what the military, including the Mississippi Army and Air Guard National Guard, actually does,” said Waldrop.

    Campers learn about marching, drill and ceremonies, flag etiquette, individual/group discipline and team support. They also have the opportunity to visit different locations around Camp Shelby to explore, ask questions and learn about all the things that their parents do while working or training in the Mississippi National Guard.

    Thursday, June 27 was scheduled as this year’s "Air Guard Day." Special events included a visit to the CSJFTC Air-to-Ground Range where aviation assets from different branches of service were flown in and displayed for campers to see and explore. Aviation assets such as a Coast Guard MH-60 “Jayhawk” Search and Rescue helicopter and Air Force F-16 fighter jets conducted a fly over, with the helicopter landing for campers to explore and get an opportunity to meet the aircrew.

    “I feel really good about coming out to help with the Kids AT here at Camp Shelby, “ said Petty Officer 2nd Class Mario Estevane, a rescue swimmer with Coast Guard Aviation Training Center – Mobile. “This is a great opportunity to teach the kids about our equipment, show what our capabilities are and spread the word about what we do as Coast Guard Aviators.”

    Additional aviation assets were there to showcase their skills for the campers, including the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron from Meridian, the Combat Readiness Training Center, 209th Civil Engineer Squadron and 255th Air Control Squadron, all from Gulfport.

    “We’ve been doing Kids AT for several years, and we always try to come out and support the event because it gives us a chance to bring out equipment like thermal imagers, laser marking devices and radios to show the kids a little bit of what we do as Forward Air Controllers,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Tim Mills, of the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron. “The kids love it, especially the thermal imagers and gear displays, and I hope we can keep this great program going in the future.”

    Special guests attending during Aviation Day included Deborah Collins, wife of Mississippi Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Augustus L. Collins.

    “The children are the best part of these summer camps, and I love being here with them,” said Collins.

    Each year, the Kids AT summer camps require intensive planning and preparation, and it’s the job of the coordinators, staff and volunteers to make things happen.

    “Part of my job is to coordinate this camp. We do retreats throughout the year and other events. We plan child and youth military activities throughout the year,” said Jan Reeves, Mississippi National Guard Child and Youth Coordinator. “This camp takes about five months to plan. It’s a process, but I plan it, the volunteers carry it out and they have done an amazing job, because everything went smoothly.”

    Reeves said that the camps and other events are a great way for National Guard members and their children to share a little of each others’ experiences.

    “The camp gives them a chance to go home and talk to their parents about what they have learned here,” she said. “It gives them a chance to connect with each other; their parents went through basic training so it gives them something to share and talk about.”



    Date Taken: 06.27.2013
    Date Posted: 08.23.2013 13:58
    Story ID: 112500
    Location: CAMP SHELBY, MS, US 

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