Photo Gallery | Kid’s Annual Training celebrates its 20th year at Camp Shelby
The following is a press release from Camp Shelby:
Kid’s Annual Training celebrated its 20th anniversary with the motto, “Children learn what they live” as military children from across Mississippi enjoyed some summertime fun at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center.
“I think it’s a great way for us to support the Families, as well as a great opportunity for the kids to see what their parents do, in combination with the sense of community,” said Maj. Gen. Catherine S. Lutz, Assistant Adjutant General-Air, Mississippi National Guard. “It helps to grow strong bonds between the kids and their parents.”
Kid’s AT youth summer camp is designed for military children of Mississippi National Guard members. Campers learn about marching, drill and ceremonies, flag etiquette, individual/group discipline and team support. This year about 150 kids between the ages of 9 and 12 years of age attended the camp.
“This is the best program that I know of, because it gives the children the opportunity to find out what their parents do,” said Debra F. Collins, wife of Mississippi Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Augustus L. Collins.
The week long program hosted different activities for the kids to participate in to honor and educate them about military service. The Kids’s AT campers experienced a daily routine that shadows what their military parents experience while serving in the Mississippi National Guard.
“The best part of kid’s AT is the children,” said Collins, “and seeing them getting excited about what their parents do.”
Many of the camp counselors and volunteers are also members of the Mississippi National Guard, and they said that Kid’s AT is a fun way to teach their children about military life.
“My daughter was in Kid’s AT years and years ago, and I continued to participate after that because I love volunteering and I just love the kids,” said Staff Sgt. Brandi Simmons, of the 184th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a counselor for the “Choppers” group.
June 28 was scheduled as this year’s Air Guard Day at the CSJFTC Air to Ground Range where aviation assets from different branches of service flew in and displayed aircraft and equipment for campers to see and explore.
“This is an excellent event,” said Coast Guard Lt. J.R. Nims, of Aviation Training Center –Mobile. “We brought a couple of our airframes here, an H-65 and an H-60 helicopter, to demonstrate some of our capabilities and educate the kids about the opportunities that the Coast Guard has to offer.”
Aviation assets such as Coast Guard and Marine Corps helicopters, along with Air Force transport aircraft, flew several passes over the observation area, and the helicopters landed for campers to explore and meet the air crews.
“We always enjoy the opportunity to get out and show the public what we do and who we are,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Warren Labeth, of ATC-Mobile. “The kids seem to enjoy it quite a bit.”
Additional aviation assets were there to showcase their skills for the campers, including the Meridian based 248th Air Traffic Control Unit and 238th Air Support Operations Squadron, as well as the Combat Readiness Training Center Security Police, 209th Civil Engineer Squadron and 255th Air Control Squadron, all from Gulfport.
“It’s just another thing we can do to support the Families, and I think it’s a great experience for the children,” said Maj. Gen. Lutz. “The children are developing relationships here that could last a lifetime, and who knows? Some of these kids may look back on their time here and decide to join the military one day.”