News: Youth enjoy outdoor sports and get history lesson at Joint Base summer camp
Story by Robert W. Mitchell
WASHINGTON - At a summer camp on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, children of military personnel and Department of Defense employees experience outdoor fun and receive a valuable history lesson on the American flag from the United States Air Force Honor Guard.
Swimming, bowling and a flag-folding class by the Air Force Honor Guard are among the recreational activities children are enjoying this summer at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB). The JBAB Youth Center Summer Camp runs from June 16 to August 30.
The summer camp program provides several types of activities and events for the approximately 120 children dropped off at the youth center every week, according to program supervisor and youth center director Joyce Sheridan.
"Our camp provides a combination of activities like water sports, kickball, tennis and other events for our children," she said.
During one special event, children learned how to fold the American flag in a visit to the youth center by Air Force Honor Guardsmen Staff Sgt. Lawrence Rajab, a native of Miami, Fla., and Senior Airman Russell Helms, a native of Atlanta, Ga.
"I came to show them the basics on how to properly display the flag, dispose the flag and how to properly fold the flag," said Lawrence.
During the instruction, the children learned what the stars and colors on the flag represent. They also learned that Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," thanks to the Honor Guardsmen.
JBAB summer camp counselor Cathy Austin invited the Honor Guard to the summer camp program to help the children and counselors learn about the flag.
"I didn't know how to fold a flag myself, so I wanted the kids to learn how to fold the flag. I thought the Honor Guard would be perfect to teach and tell us about the significance of the flag," she said.
Nineteen year old Michael Godan, also a JBAB summer camp counselor, enjoyed the class and appreciated the visit by the Airmen. "It was good for them to come here and teach the children. I didn't know how to do that," he said.
Soon after the flag-folding class, the children in Maritza Medrano's group began to practice what they learned with a table cloth.
"I am excited and happy that they are learning something new," she said.
Parents can purchase one or all 11 weeks of camp to fit their summer plans, according to program director Joyce Sheridan said.
"You can sign up for the entire camp or just for a couple of weeks. If you are vacationing with family, then you will need only a few weeks of camp," she said.
Camp costs are based on a family's income, thus a single junior enlisted parent, for example, would not pay the same rate as a single parent who is a GS-15 federal employee, Sheridan explained.
The flexibility in terms of costs and scheduling is what many parents find appealing about the summer camp program at JBAB, according to Sheridan.
"It provides a safe environment for parents to bring their children during the summer. It is convenient and parents like the prices better than what they would find at a summer camp off base," she said.
In one example of convenience, Sheridan referred to a parent who commutes from Waldorf, Md., drops off her child at the JBAB Youth Center for summer camp and continues on to her place of employment at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.
For more information about the JBAB Youth Center Summer Camp program, call 202-767-4003 or drop by the JBAB Youth Center in building 4485 and inquire within.