Preteens and teens at the Luke Air Force Base Youth Center play games, meet with friends and have fun. However, in the midst of all the activities, teens are coming together with a purpose. The Keystone Teen Council meets to prepare teens to become future leaders and make a difference in their community.
“The Keystone Teen Council is a dynamic program for teens where they gain valuable leadership and service experience through activities conducted in three areas: academic success, career exploration and community service,” said Sheryl Bush, 56th Force Support Squadron Youth Program coordinator.
“Council members elect officers, work to solve issues impacting teens and voice their concerns to the highest level of Air Force leaders. Teens also create activities for the center, plan and implement community service projects and participate in life skills workshops.”
The council is currently working on an Air Force Teen Council project called, “Come on, Let’s Go!”
“The purpose of the project is to create an information video designed to enhance the current Youth Sponsorship Program,” Bush said. “The Youth Sponsorship Program assists teens with the difficulties and challenges of a permanent-change-of-station transition and increases the success rate and enjoyment of the move. This video will provide teens an overview of facilities and programs available on base and in the local communities.”
The council will participate in the “State Keystone Teen Conference” in October, which will bring together teens from across the state.
“The State Keystone Teen Conference gives council members an opportunity to meet other teens and participate in a variety of leadership development and character-building workshops,” Bush said. “Teens eligible for youth center membership are invited to join us in making a difference in our youth programs and community. We invite teens to bring their ideas on how to grow our teen program and how to get more teens involved.”
DaRiante Hammon, a high school sophomore, has been a member for only a month but is proud of the difference the club is making and the opportunities it will provide her in the future.
“It feels good to know I’m making a difference, and I can help other teens out, not just in the Air Force but outside the base,” Hammon said. “I like that I get to hang out with my friends, and I think this will help me with earning a scholarship and getting a job.”
Council meetings are held from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Friday and are open to teens between the ages of 14 to18 whose parents are active-duty or retired military, Defense Department civilian, or nonappropriated fund employees. For more information or to sign up, call Bush at 623-856-7470.