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    Maine National Guard Holds 18th Annual Youth Camp

    Maine National Guard Holds 18th Annual Youth Camp

    Photo By Sgt. Jarod Dye | A counselor teaches a camper how to shoot a bow at Bog Brook Training, site in Gilead,...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Jarod Dye 

    121st Public Affairs Detachment

    The Maine National Guard Youth Camp recently finished their two one-week sessions ending July 22, 2017 at Bog Brook Training Site in Gilead, Maine. This year marked the 18th annual operation of the camp.

    The program offers a week of summer camp for the children of currently serving military members at a low cost.

    “This camp is made to help kids connect with each other and make friendships that last a lifetime, while also providing them with some key skills that will help them throughout their lives,” said Jack Bourassa, a junior counselor for the youth camp and high school student.

    The kids are taught many skills that their parents are taught in the military as well as other activities for fun and education.

    “We teach wilderness survival, how to raise and lower a flag, a couple different military commands, how to march, and other fun things like archery and paintball,” said Bourassa.

    Each event was created and organized in a specific order to teach kids different lessons throughout the week.

    “The archery and paintball definitely teach them responsibility,” said Garrett Steinbuchel, a 7th year attendee and 2nd year counselor for the youth camp. “When they have competitions, and they cheer each other on, it builds teamwork.”

    The camp is not only beneficial to the children but, also to the family as a whole.

    “For the service members, I think it’s great that they get to volunteer or bring their kids here,” said Steinbuchel. “It brings not only the kids together but the parents too as a whole family unit.”

    The camp’s value goes beyond just the fun times and friendships made at the camp, it keeps the Army mission ready.

    The lead child and youth program coordinator for the Maine Army National Guard, Elizabeth Marcotte adds another value of the camp she runs, “For most soldiers, their children mean everything to them. It’s really hard to have your head in the game and be focused on your mission when you’re worried about your kids at home”

    The activities are ageless and even the staff and volunteers enjoy and learn from them.

    “I have fun, I do all the stuff the kids do, so for me this camp it awesome,” said Steinbuchel.

    The program’s events are all reviewed and supervised by an army safety officer to ensure they are being conducted in the safest way possible.

    “Every time we go to do an event or anything with the kids we always do safety briefings with the kids first and have enough staff to watch every camper,” said Steinbuchel. “It’s one of the safest places to send your kid for a summer camp.”

    A successful summer camp however, does not come easily. It takes a lot of dedication and preparation to make everything run smoothly.

    “I start working on camp in November and I work on it every month up until it happens,” said Marcotte.

    The staff gets along well and has formed a cohesive team in order to effectively organize a summer camp.

    “The staff is amazing,” said Steinbuchel. “The whole National Guard Youth Program is on top of everything, they do a great job.”

    Having this kind of military-only summer camp provides a unique edge that no other ordinary summer camp could provide.

    “We try to give kids great friendships so that they have friends that understand their lifestyle and understand what it means to say my dad is at AT or deployed or my mom is away at training for six weeks, or whatever it may be,” said Marcotte.

    The camp also teaches resiliency skills through confidence building activities, as well as communication activities that the children will need during certain times in their parent’s careers.

    “They learn a huge variety of skills that at the end of the day make them a lot more independent and self-sufficient,” said Marcotte. “It gives them something to be proud about.”

    Marcotte credits her staff for helping make the two weeks possible for all these kids to enjoy.

    “Overall our family program staff that makes this all happen is amazing,” said Marcotte. “They’re dedicated people, it takes a team to make it all happen.”

    According to Steinbuchel the children love the program and are always excited to come back next summer.

    “Every year I have kids at the end of the week that don’t want to go home,” said Steinbuchel. “99% of the kids that come here absolutely love it.”



    Date Taken: 07.10.2017
    Date Posted: 07.24.2017 13:03
    Story ID: 242353
    Location: GILEAD, ME, US

    Web Views: 746
    Downloads: 0