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News > Youth Center provides opportunities for teens
Youth Center provides opportunities for teens

Posted 1/12/2011   Updated 1/13/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman Cortney Hansen
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

1/12/2011 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- When it comes to priorities, kids are number one on the youth center's list. Malmstrom Air Force base's youth center offers various programs that promote personal development, community involvement and physical fitness at this Air Force Global Strike Command base.

Part of growing up is learning these important skills, and teenagers have the opportunity to take advantage of several programs that teach all of them.

A few of the programs the youth center offers for the teens are the Y.E.S. program (Youth Employment Skills), two leadership clubs - Torch Club and Keystone Club - the Congressional Awards program and the Youth at Work program.

The Y.E.S. program is available to high school active-duty dependants who are looking to make some extra money for college.

"Every hour the kids work, they make $4 with the Air Force Aid Society - up to 250 hours or $1,000," said Annjeanette Brown, a recreation specialist at the Youth Center. "At the end of the program, we request money from the AFAS after they pick a college of their choice. Then the AFAS will give them the money for their books and other items."

The youth center also offers two leadership clubs for kids. The Torch Club is for youth ages 9-12, and the Keystone Club is for youth ages 13-18.

The Torch Club focuses on character development, while the Keystone Club introduces more leadership skills.

Service to club and community, education, health and wellness, and social recreation are the four areas the Torch Club focuses on. Service to club and community consists of volunteering and community service work. In the education area, kids can help others with school work, and the physical fitness area consists of an Air Force fitness program for youth called the Fit Factor.

The last area, social recreation, teaches and encourages community involvement.
"In our meetings, we sit down and I have the kids fill out calendars of things that they want to do for the community that month," Ms. Brown said.

The Keystone Club focuses on only three areas of personal development: academic success, career exploration - geared more toward the older kids and community service.
In both clubs there are leadership positions available to all members. There is a president, vice president and secretary that are all selected through a voting process that both demonstrates and promotes the democratic process.

"The democratic process is a big thing involved," Ms. Brown said. "We actually had a presidential election here with the kids, and we also have things that the kids would be interested in too, like elections for the best candy bar."

Another program the youth center offers is the Congressional Awards Program. This program is available to members 13 ½ - 23 years of age and their parents.

The Congressional Awards Program awards bronze, silver and gold medals to members who set and reach goals in the areas of voluntary public service, outdoor exploration, personal development and physical fitness.

"The program is based on a time limit. You can meet your goals in shorter time, but you have to finish your time," Ms. Brown said.

After a member's time in the program is complete, a member of Congress will award a bronze, silver or gold medal to them depending on their time in the program.

Earning a medal from a member of Congress is a great accomplishment, but some kids are just looking to earn some money.

The youth center offers a program called Youth at Work which allows youth ages 11-18 to provide work services to the community through the youth center. Participants fill out an application that describes the services they are willing to provide to the community - things like shoveling, mowing, babysitting, etc. From there, people will call the youth center and be referred to one of the kids for a specific service.

The Youth at Work program is probably the most successful program we offer, Ms. Brown said. The kids have to set the price and time with the customer, so this program is just a way to get their foot in the door.

For more information or to sign up for any of these programs, contact the Youth Center at 731-4634.

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