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    Youth program exposes students to careers



    Story by Laura Levering 

    Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

    FORT GORDON, Ga. - Thirty students from local public and private schools spent half a day at Fort Gordon Sept. 7 as part of Youth Leadership Columbia County’s “Military and Law Enforcement Day.”
    Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Todd Turner said the event was an example of ongoing efforts to increase partnerships with local governments, industry and academia.
    “As a proud member of the Central Savannah River Area, we know that the community support is key to the success of our mission, as well as our Soldiers, civilians, and their families,” Turner said.
    Youth Leadership Columbia County is a program designed to educate and motivate young leaders through exposure to different career fields and areas in the community. Students must go through an extensive application and interview process prior to being considered and admitted to the program.
    Beth Frits, Youth Leadership programs coordinator, said the students’ time at Fort Gordon was an example of how the program exposes students to different areas of the community each month.
    “They are learning both challenges and opportunities, they are learning about different kinds of professions … Youth Leadership Columbia County allows students to become engaged in what’s going on in our community, to understand things about our community that they typically wouldn’t understand or get to experience in a classroom,” Frits said.
    Students began their day with a windshield tour of Fort Gordon, led by Turner.
    Frits said that Turner did an excellent job explaining the transformation of Fort Gordon over the years and how the military functions.
    “When you think about the Army, you think about the person that’s out there on the battlefield with a weapon, but it’s not always that,” Frits said. “They need engineers, they need architects, they need firefighters … they need all kinds of professions to make Fort Gordon run.”
    Following the windshield tour, students got a glimpse into the life of a Soldier training for battle.
    Ken Lundy, Fort Gordon Training Aids, Devices, Simulators and Simulations branch chief, exposed students to an array of training devices used to familiarize Soldiers with devices to look for in a combat zone; threats such as backpack bombs, briefcase bombs, pressure cooker bombs, rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades.
    “A lot of this stuff is in the video games they play now, so they’re already kind of familiar with a lot of this stuff,” Lundy said.
    Students were then exposed to Humvee rollover training at the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer and tested their firing abilities at the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000. They also got a taste of Meals Ready to Eat and had a chance to mingle with service members from each branch of service.
    Matt Wilson, a junior at Greenbrier High School in Evans, Georgia, said his time at Fort Gordon was “very insightful.”
    Prior to the trip, Wilson took part in a summer camp that included time at National Security Agency-Georgia.
    “To come here again and see some of the other things that go on at the fort that I didn’t know happened … to know you have a community here of 30,000 at any given time that I didn’t even know existed is fascinating,” Wilson said.
    Uncertain of what he wants to do post-graduation, Wilson said he has always been attracted to law, politics, and business. But his recent visits to Fort Gordon left him considering a possible future outside of those professions.
    “I really think that I might pursue at least some sort of computer science (degree) so that maybe I can work at the NSA or go to one of the academies for that,” Wilson said. “Everything that we have seen and done has been very insightful and exciting.”
    Although the visit was not meant to be used as a recruiting tool, Lundy, a retired sergeant major, said he hopes some will choose to take advantage of what the military can offer.
    “I shared with them that it’s not all about weapons and it’s not all about tactical vehicles,” Lundy said. “You could be working at NSA … and then when you get out, you have all of these skill sets and all these opportunities because you have experience.”
    Regardless of what paths the students take, Turner said each one is an essential part of the community.
    “These are the future leaders of our community and they will play an integral part of the region’s transformation and achievement of the Fort Gordon Cyber District and associated regional goals,” Turner said.



    Date Taken: 09.07.2017
    Date Posted: 12.29.2017 09:39
    Story ID: 260656
    Location: GA, US

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