Va. Guard hosts 9th annual youth camp at Camp Pendleton

Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment and the Portsmouth-based 2nd Battalion, 183rd Cavalry Regiment demonstrate some of their weapons, equipment and vehicles to campers at the ninth annual Virginia National Guard Youth Camp July 23, 2014, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The weeklong camp, presented by the Virginia National Guard Family Programs Office, offers the children of Virginia military members a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities, including swimming and fishing, arts & crafts, classes on flag etiquette, science and the environment, and trips to Ocean Breeze Water Park, the Virginia Aquarium and Busch Gardens. In addition, campers received a first-hand look at weapons and vehicles used by the Virginia National Guard, as well as a visit by the horses and officers of the Virginia Beach Police Department Mounted Patrol. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment and the Portsmouth-based 2nd Battalion, 183rd Cavalry Regiment demonstrate some of their weapons, equipment and vehicles to campers at the ninth annual Virginia National Guard Youth Camp July 23, 2014, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The weeklong camp, presented by the Virginia National Guard Family Programs Office, offers the children of Virginia military members a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities, including swimming and fishing, arts & crafts, classes on flag etiquette, science and the environment, and trips to Ocean Breeze Water Park, the Virginia Aquarium and Busch Gardens. In addition, campers received a first-hand look at weapons and vehicles used by the Virginia National Guard, as well as a visit by the horses and officers of the Virginia Beach Police Department Mounted Patrol. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

CAMP PENDLETON, Va. — More than 60 children of Virginia service members attended the ninth annual Virginia National Guard Youth Camp July 20- 25, 2014, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. During the weeklong camp, the campers enjoyed activities both at Camp Pendleton and in the surrounding area.

“It was a great week,” said Drew Davis, lead child and youth coordinator with Virginia National Guard Family Programs. “The kids look forward to it all year and can’t wait to come back and see their friends the next year.”

Each day began with a flag ceremony, exercise and breakfast before a variety of fun activities. Campers spent time playing in the water at the Camp Pendleton beach, fishing on the lake, and taking classes on diversity, leadership, character building and anti-bullying.

Youth from around the state attend the ninth annual Virginia National Guard Youth Camp July 21-25, 2014, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The weeklong camp, presented by the Virginia National Guard Family Programs Office, offers the children of Virginia military members a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities, including swimming and fishing, arts & crafts, classes on flag etiquette, science and the environment, and trips to Ocean Breeze Water Park, the Virginia Aquarium and Busch Gardens. In addition, campers received a first-hand look at weapons and vehicles used by the Virginia National Guard, as well as a visit by the horses and officers of the Virginia Beach Police Department Mounted Patrol. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Youth from around the state attend the ninth annual Virginia National Guard Youth Camp July 21-25, 2014, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The weeklong camp, presented by the Virginia National Guard Family Programs Office, offers the children of Virginia military members a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities, including swimming and fishing, arts & crafts, classes on flag etiquette, science and the environment, and trips to Ocean Breeze Water Park, the Virginia Aquarium and Busch Gardens. In addition, campers received a first-hand look at weapons and vehicles used by the Virginia National Guard, as well as a visit by the horses and officers of the Virginia Beach Police Department Mounted Patrol. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Members of the Virginia Beach Police Department Mounted Patrol visited with their horses. Staffers from the Winchester STARBASE Academy taught the campers about science, technology, engineering and math. Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration, or STARBASE, is a Department of Defense educational program.

In addition, Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Fort Pickett-based 34th Civil Support Team, the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment and the Portsmouth-based 2nd Battalion, 183rd Cavalry Regiment provided the 62 campers with a first-hand look at some of the weapons, equipment and vehicles their moms and dads use while serving in the military.

The campers also visited both Ocean Breeze Water Park and the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach and traveled to Williamsburg for a day at Busch Gardens.

While the youths, all aged 8 to 12, enjoyed their week at Camp Pendleton, so did the teen and adult volunteers who make the event possible. Forty adult volunteers helped with the camp, as well as 22 teens aged 13-17.

“They’re the ones that make this happen,” said Vickie Sais, the director of Family Programs for the Virginia National Guard. “The volunteers work so hard and, without them, the camp wouldn’t happen.”
Many children of Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen are spread out across the state in different communities. For them, the camp is an opportunity to spend time with kids who may face the same issues they face.

“The kids really enjoy the camp because it’s a chance to link up and form bonds with other military kids,” Davis said. “It brings the kids together once a year to show them that they are not alone.”

Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment and the Portsmouth-based 2nd Battalion, 183rd Cavalry Regiment demonstrate some of their weapons, equipment and vehicles to campers at the ninth annual Virginia National Guard Youth Camp July 23, 2014, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The weeklong camp, presented by the Virginia National Guard Family Programs Office, offers the children of Virginia military members a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities, including swimming and fishing, arts & crafts, classes on flag etiquette, science and the environment, and trips to Ocean Breeze Water Park, the Virginia Aquarium and Busch Gardens. In addition, campers received a first-hand look at weapons and vehicles used by the Virginia National Guard, as well as a visit by the horses and officers of the Virginia Beach Police Department Mounted Patrol. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment and the Portsmouth-based 2nd Battalion, 183rd Cavalry Regiment demonstrate some of their weapons, equipment and vehicles to campers at the ninth annual Virginia National Guard Youth Camp July 23, 2014, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The weeklong camp, presented by the Virginia National Guard Family Programs Office, offers the children of Virginia military members a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities, including swimming and fishing, arts & crafts, classes on flag etiquette, science and the environment, and trips to Ocean Breeze Water Park, the Virginia Aquarium and Busch Gardens. In addition, campers received a first-hand look at weapons and vehicles used by the Virginia National Guard, as well as a visit by the horses and officers of the Virginia Beach Police Department Mounted Patrol. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)