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    Photo By Staff Sgt. Killo Gibson | Students from the Milam Youth Leadership Camp pose for a group photo at the end of the...... read more read more

    Twenty-nine students from all around El Paso spent a week developing skills that would better prepare them to be leaders as an adult.

    Camp-members spent 4 nights living in barracks, eating in on-post dinning facilities, conducting charity work, navigating a obstacle course, using virtual simulators, and participating in a leadership reaction course, all without assistance from their parents.

    “Many of these kids have never been away from home, other than spending the night at a friends house,” said Cecilia Talavera, a child youth program assistant. “These children are spending an entire week living in the barracks with three people whom they are meeting for the first time, almost like a college dorm.”

    Living together gives the students the opportunity to make new friendships and work on their communication skills, which is vital in becoming an effective leader.

    “This is my first time at the camp and I like that I made new friends,” said Lauren Rempel, a 12-year-old student from Harmony Middle School.

    Parents had the opportunity to visit their child at the end of the day before the children went to sleep, however only a few parents visited, said Talavera.

    “Most of the parents chose not to visit their child to allow them to get the full experience of being independent and doing things on their own,” said Talavera.

    Campers began the week assisting the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank.

    Campers helped prepare meals to be delivered throughout the city.

    This gave the students the opportunity to give back to the community and practice selfless-service Talavera said.

    But, that was just the beginning. Students were going to have to put their mental and physical skills to the test in some team building exercises.

    Students were divided into teams and told they would have to complete the nine-obstacle course as a team.

    Teammates shouted encouraging words to one another throughout the course.

    “It was great to see all the students working together, supporting each other getting through the course as a team,” said Nicole Timlin, a child youth program assistant.

    At the end of the course students had the opportunity to rappel off a 40-foot tower.

    Many students were afraid to rappel from the tower, however this wasn’t a requirement, but more of an opportunity to face their fear and lead by example.

    An Air Assault instructor from the Iron Training Detachment instructed the students on the procedures they would follow and then performed a-live demonstration.

    A child youth program assistant was the first to rappel down the tower, followed by the students.

    “I had so much fun using the simulators, but I was looking forward to the rappel tower,” said Donaven Williams, a 12-year-old student from Canyon Hills Middle School. “I was a little scared, but I knew I could do it.”

    Although, all the students didn’t rappel down the tower, they learned some valuable lessons during the week about themselves and things they can work on individually.

    “The students made a lot of progress through the week. Some children were home sick the first night, but by the second night they had adjusted and made friends and were excited to get to the next days activities,” said Timlin.

    At the end of the week Lt. Col. Michael Loftus, 2nd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, spoke with students about leadership and what it means to be a leader, and left the students with these finally words.

    “Leaders must be willing to learn, follow, and willing to make sacrifices for others.” said Blank Loftus.

    For information about enrolling a child, you can contact Jennie Ortega, Milam Youth Center Director, at (915) 744-2449.



    Date Taken: 06.26.2017
    Date Posted: 06.26.2017 15:02
    Story ID: 239238
    Location: EL PASO, TX, US

    Web Views: 58
    Downloads: 0