9th Annual National Guard Youth Camp Held
By Lt. Col. Roberta Niedt, NJDMAVA/PAO
One hundred and thirty five children from throughout the Garden State have something “ out of the ordinary” to tell their teachers and classmates when they go back to school. They attended the 9th Annual National Guard Youth Camp at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt July 7-12.
The campers aged 9-12 spent the week doing sports, archery, arts and crafts, and going to the beach. They also experienced a taste of military life by doing physical training each morning, marching to daily activities, sleeping in barracks and eating in the mess hall. A visit to the National Guard Training and Training Technology Battle Lab at Fort Dix gave the group an opportunity to engage in some of the same training that soldiers do. They did laser simulation training in urban, desert, and woodland environments; they “ called for fire” during a simulated artillery exercise and used tank and small arms simulators. Nightly programs with a strong educational “message” were a major camp component. Everyone participated in activities that emphasized the benefits of diversity, the importance of avoiding gangs, and the need to maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
The weeklong camp is open to children and grandchildren of active and retired members of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard. It allows those who live in nonmilitary communities an opportunity to interact with other “ military” children.
Volunteers ranged in age from 13 to 75 and all had some connection to the National Guard. According to Joanne Grieco, Camp Director: “The success of the Youth Camp can be attributed to our volunteers, vendors, and organizational sponsors. It takes the commitment of the staff and volunteers to make a camp like this continue to grow and succeed.”