Youth programs gear up for summer

Youth centers across the Air Force and Space Force are reopening doors to youth and teens to help keep them active and engaged during the summer months.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, the Air Force Services Center has rolled out a suite of youth center programs.

Team Aviano youth wait for instructions during soccer practice at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Youth centers across the Air Force and Space Force are reopening doors to youth and teens to help keep them active and engaged during the summer months. While offerings will vary by installation, on-site specialty camps may include archery, culinary skills, non-traditional sports, paintball, performing arts, science and soccer. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Areca T. Bell)

“The summer season often kicks off at many installations with a youth center-sponsored run, along with Golf Universities, virtual art camps, and other outdoor activities coordinated with the U.S. Department of Agricultureís 4-H program,” said Col. Christopher Parrish, AFSVC commander. “Our team here at the center is excited for our youth to get out this summer and enjoy these programs.”

While offerings will vary by installation, on-site specialty camps may include archery, culinary skills, non-traditional sports, paintball, performing arts, science and soccer.

“Virtual camps not only allowed participation during COVID-19, but youth and teens living farther away from the base could also participate,” said David Jenkins, AFSVC director of programs. “Building on the success of last yearís Virtual Aviation Camp, we are launching two new virtual camps to provide even more options for youth and teens.”

New for 2021, Department of the Air Force Youth Programs launched Golf University in partnership with Air Force Golf Programs to teach youth and teens ages 9-17 all about golf, including skills and industry behind-the-scenes experiences. The program will be offered through August at Dover AFB, Del., Dyess AFB, Texas, Hurlburt Field, Fla., Joint Base Andrews, Md., Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, Kadena Air Base, Japan, Kirtland AFB, N.M., MacDill AFB, Fla., Nellis AFB, Nev.,Peterson AFB, Colo., Scott AFB, Ill., and Shaw AFB, S.C.

Golf University provides first-hand experience with golf shop operations, an introduction to golf equipment and the opportunity to learn about course maintenance and turf management. The week ends with a youth golf scramble.

Also new this summer is a Virtual Teen Vocal Performing Arts Camp hosted by Air Force Entertainment in partnership with DAF Youth Programs.

This camp is a combination of web-based presentations and discussion groups. It also provides one-on-one training from accomplished performers and music educators who will cover all phases of vocal presentation and help each participant create a final master recording performing a vocal selection of their choice.

Two children paint pictures at the Youth Center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. With COVID-19 restrictions easing, the Air Force Services Center has rolled out a suite of youth center programs. The open recreation program during the summer consists of weekly field trips off base, family bonding events and weeklong specialty camps specializing in theater or music. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Teens 15-18 years old of all skill levels will have the opportunity to build their vocal performance skills, whether pursuing a career in entertainment or just to improve their karaoke abilities. Camp participants will have one-on-one training from professional performers and music educators. Two camp sessions take place, July 12-22 and Aug. 2-12.

The “Do Rad Things” skateboard art camp, with artist Mark Rivard, provides instruction in a variety of art techniques and design concepts. Each participant receives art supplies, templates and a skateboard deck where they can bring their design to life under the guidance of a professional artist.

“Whether they attend virtually or in-person, youth and teens are getting ready for fun in the sun,” said Patti Mehrens, AFSVC Child and Youth Programs Division chief. “(Department of Air Force) Youth Programs have just the right combination of virtual and in-person programs to keep youth engaged and busy.”

An additional option for youth and teens is made possible through a partnership between DAF Youth Programs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture 4-H program. Themes ranging from Agtastic Adventures to Take Flight to High Adventure, the camps offer something for everyone. 4-H is the youth outreach program from Land Grant Universities and Cooperative Extension Services. Georgia, Utah, Oregon, South Carolina and Illinois are some of the states presenting specialty summer camps.

The list is available on the 4-H Military Partnership Camps website by selecting Air Force in the search option at https://4-hmilitarypartnerships.org/events/camps. Visit the site for more information and to sign up.

4-H Take Flight Camp takes place in Kaysville, Utah, from July 6-9; High Adventure 4-H Military Youth Camp will be held at Kingsley Field Air Base, Klamath Falls, Oregon, from July 12-14; and Expedition Sewee is in Awendaw, South Carolina, from Aug. 7-9.

For more information on upcoming camps and activities, visit the new DAF Child and Youth Programs website at https://www.dafchildandyouth.com/news-highlights.

A child films participants during a race to find out the fastest camper from the Tyndall Youth Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. With COVID-19 restrictions easing, the Air Force Services Center has rolled out a suite of youth center programs. While offerings will vary by installation, on-site specialty camps may include archery, culinary skills, non-traditional sports, paintball, performing arts, science and soccer. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

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