ST LOUIS, Mo. - In its third year, the Missouri National Guard State Family Program’s Youth Camp brought together nearly 50 kids ages 10 to 17 from across the state to enjoy three days of team building and fun.
"This is an opportunity for children of Missouri National Guard Soldiers to interact with each other and share experiences,” said Warrant Office Melissa Ireland, the Missouri State Family Program director and camp coordinator. "We hope they make new friends they can keep in touch with throughout the year.”
To build relationships and encourage teamwork, the kids play paintball, miniature golf, visit a water park, and participate in team building exercises and relays.
"I get the chance to experience new things and I meet so many new people,” said Morgan Brooks, 13 of O’Fallon. "The best part is the paintball, because I get to shoot and run around.”
The camp also gives the kids a chance to interact with Soldiers and Airmen from various units and careers, who volunteer as team leaders.
"The kids are amazing,” said Sgt. Michael Wooten, who the kids dubbed ‘Sgt. Woo Woo.’ "Besides making sure they have as much fun as possible I get to answer all sorts of questions about what I do and where I’ve been. The camp really gives them a chance to see the variety of the Missouri National Guard from myself and the other leader’s experiences to the other kids.”
For Scott Lowe, who has participated in the camp all three years, this is a chance to catch up with old friends.
"I have a good time and I get to see what my team leader and old friends have been up to,” said Lowe, 15 of Bonne Terre. "It’s really cool to hear everyone’s stories.”