Military youth gain experience of a lifetime at Va. Guard Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp

More than 30 Virginia National Guard youth from around the state joined 12 other children of active duty Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force personnel June 20- 26, 2015, for the Virginia National Guard Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing. The purpose of the camp is to influence military youth to make positive choices, develop effective communication skills, build relationships, and contribute to the health and well-being of the youth. (Courtesy Photo)

More than 30 Virginia National Guard youth from around the state joined 12 other children of active duty Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force personnel June 20- 26, 2015, for the Virginia National Guard Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing. The purpose of the camp is to influence military youth to make positive choices, develop effective communication skills, build relationships, and contribute to the health and well-being of the youth. (Courtesy Photo)

SANDSTON, Va. — More than 30 Virginia National Guard youth from around the state joined 12 other children of active duty Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force personnel June 20- 26, 2015, for the Virginia National Guard Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing. The purpose of the camp, which is funded through a Department of Defense grant in support of Military/Extension Partnerships, is to influence military youth to make positive choices, develop effective communication skills, build relationships, and contribute to the health and well-being of the youth.

Teens at the Virginia National Guard Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp experienced zip lining, canoeing, caving, rock climbing, a low ropes course, hiking, raft building and team building exercises. Some of these activities involved teams working together and were more challenging than others but everyone stayed motivated and encouraged each other. (Courtesy photo)

Teens at the Virginia National Guard Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp experienced zip lining, canoeing, caving, rock climbing, a low ropes course, hiking, raft building and team building exercises. Some of these activities involved teams working together and were more challenging than others but everyone stayed motivated and encouraged each other. (Courtesy photo)

The teens accomplished these goals through many different activities including zip lining, canoeing, caving, rock climbing, a low ropes course, hiking, raft building and team building exercises. Some of these activities involved teams working together and were more challenging than others but everyone stayed motivated and encouraged each other.

“All of our kids have a willingness to try something at least once,” said Sgt. 1st Class Lauren Martin, a Virginia National Guard Soldier who volunteered at the camp. “They are extra special, they are so young and have a bit of a zing to them. We all do in one way or another.”

Each night the campers gathered around the campfire to make s’mores, share stories and process the experiences of the day. The last night of camp, adult team volunteers presented shirts to their groups. Each adult volunteer reflected on the teens within their group and highlighted the skills they saw in them.

“Each child is unique and they all have gifts and talents,” Martin said. “Some of these kids know they are gifted now, see their future and have a vision, and others are still trying to find their way.”

For more information about National Guard Youth Programs, or for more information on volunteering with the Virginia National Guard Youth Program at the upcoming 10th Annual Youth Camp or any other event, please contact Joe Duerksen or Silena Callis, or log on to their Facebook page at: facebook.com/VANGYouthProgram.