News: Army Reserve Teen Panel builds leaders
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Adam Stone
FORT DOUGLAS, Utah - The children of Soldiers in the Army Reserve deal with geographic challenges unique to them. When their parents deploy, often they don’t have others their age they can turn to for support. Often they don’t live close to their parent’s unit. Family support groups for some units can cover a radius of hundreds of miles.
This geographic challenge not only applies to dependents, but Army leaders as well.
That’s why in 2006 the Army Reserve Child, Youth & School Services established the Army Reserve Teen Panel. The goal of the ARTP is to communicate to Army Reserve leadership the issues facing young people in today’s society. It is made up of 30 teen and three junior advisers. They are children of Army Reserve Soldiers that meet periodically to discuss ways that leaders can help Army Reserve Families.
Bethany Piehl is an outgoing member of the ARTP. She’s currently college freshman at school at Wartberg College in Waverly, Iowa. She first learned about ARTP from her older sister Ashley who served on the panel first.
“You can say I followed in her footsteps. It was really cool seeing what she was doing and how it affected the youth.” Bethany said.
While Bethany was giving back to others, she found that the ARTP was helping her develop her leadership style which would end up paying for her college education.
“Being a member of the ARTP has taught me not only how to lead, but also how to follow and listen,” She continues. “When leading, it is my job to encourage my group members to be active in discussions and ideas and to empower them to use the skills they have to contribute to the overall project.”
During her scholarship interview, her leadership experience she developed while on the ARTP was asked about quite a bit. She said the school awarded her this scholarship based on her leadership experience.
“You grow a lot in your leadership skills and don’t always recognize it until you have to do something,” she said. “You find you’re not afraid to take the lead.”
Bethany’s father, Maj. Douglas Piehl, Equal Opportunity Office for the 807th Medical Command, recognized a difference in his daughters after they became ARTP members.
“What I saw in both girls was a ballooning in growth of responsibility and leadership. Neither girl has any problem getting in front of a large group of people and speaking about an issue,” Douglas continues. “I know that ARTP was a big part of Ashley getting her ROTC scholarship. Bethany’s scholarship was due to her leadership skills.”
“For both girls, it became a lifelong passion where they made lifelong friends,” said Douglas.
Bethany’s sister, Ashley, had a similar experience with ARTP.
“For me, it gave me a huge boost in confidence,” Ashley said. “While I was involved, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity and helped prepare me for ROTC. It gave me experience in planning and working with a team.”
Cadet Ashley Piehl is an ROTC student at Pacific Lutheran University and ultimately wants to be an Army chaplain.
Many of CYSS' core programs were developed by CYSS staff to address needs and issues identified by the members of ARTP, these include: YLEADs (Youth Leadership Education and Development Summits), ARECs (Army Reserve enrichment Camps), Weekend Youth Enrichment Programs, and School Break.
“One of my best friends I met at the 2009 Seattle YLEAD, and later we both served on ARTP. Though our home situations were very different we both understood at least some of what the other was going through, as my dad was deployed at the same time as Alex’s mom was mobilized. Even though at that point we had only been together for four days at the YLEAD, we knew that we could count on the other one to be there, even if it was 2 a.m. Having that kind of support system is very hard to come by when a teen doesn’t live by any other AR youth that he may know or by his parent's base,” said Bethany.
The ARTP meetings are more than four days of meetings. They also saw historical sites at their last meeting in Washington, D.C., and built their confidence on a ropes course in Raleigh. They also volunteer their time to the community hosting their event.
We built a memorial garden for a fallen Soldiers at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, participated in a Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA in Dallas, volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in Raleigh and packed care packages for troops and their families, said Bethany.
For more information on the Army Reserve Teen Panel go to https://cyssevents.com/artp.asp