MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Navy Information Operations Command Misawa sailors successfully facilitated the Misawa Air Base Drug Education for Youth Phase I summer camp, Aug. 9, 2012.
Eleven NIOC Misawa sailors volunteered their time and effort to conduct the eight-day, non-residential camp, which saw 20 military dependents, between the ages of 9 to 12, complete Phase I. The sailors will now conduct monthly meetings and events for the kids throughout the school year, which is considered DEFY’s Phase II.
Over the course of the Phase I camp, the sailors, who served as DEFY mentors, introduced a myriad of prevention concepts that focused on goal setting, leadership and teamwork, physical fitness, refusal skills, and self-esteem enhancement.
“We tried to really prepare the kids for obstacles they might face when dealing with peer pressure,” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 2nd Class Joe Baer, a DEFY assistant coordinator and Kansas City, Mo., native. “I think the program promotes a clean, productive lifestyle, which advocates a healthy and fulfilling way for kids to occupy their time.”
Once the school year begins, DEFY’s Phase II will reinforce the lessons learned, and DEFY mentors will continue to offer positive support during group mentoring sessions and interactive workshops.
“I think the kids quickly bonded and began trusting each other, which will be especially beneficial when the school year begins in a few weeks,” said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Kristen Hill, Misawa Air Base’s DEFY program coordinator. "I think we’ll really start seeing the positive impact of the program during Phase II as they are exposed to new challenges at school and amongst their peer groups.”
Phase II will carry on throughout the year and conclude with a graduation ceremony from the program in May 2013.
“I really enjoyed interacting with the kids and getting to know them individually,” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Seaman Kelli Clegg, a DEFY mentor, who originally hails from Sedona, Ariz. “We want to prepare and support them as they face the challenges ahead, while also keeping them on the right path in life.”
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