FORT STEWART, Ga. - Helping teens reach their full creative potential is second nature to Child, Youth and School Services Computer Lab technician Luis Camacho. Thirty one-year-old Camacho received the garrison coin during the Army’s birthday celebration at Fort Stewart’s Youth Center, June 14 for his role in helping three teens win the 2010-2011 Digital Arts Festival film award.

The annual festival is sponsored by Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Teens who utilize the youth center participate in such clubs and are afforded opportunities to build life skills in a safe and conducive environment.

“I’m excited for the teens who won the award… every time they win, I win… it’s like seeing yourself through them,” said Camacho. “You [adults] can relive your childhood by working with teens.”

Luis has worked at the youth center for the past six years and each year he has helped teens win repeated awards like the DAF award.

Luis helped his younger brother, then youth center member Jose Camacho, with winning his first graphic art design award. For the past six years, youth center teens have won awards for digital art under Camacho’s guidance.

Luis was looking for talented teens to help develop and cultivate their artistic skills using computers.

“Even if they have a spark of talent, I’m going to help them maximize it,” said Camacho.

He started working with the film festival winners last September on their one minute film entitled, “The Starring Contest.”

He asked the teens to each bring a stuffed animal to use in the video. Camacho thought that using a stuffed animal in a starring contest would be funny. They shot several clips and things simply fell into place. The teens had a total of five video submissions and each played a part in deciding which film to submit.

The film winners, 13-year-olds Tyquez Hampton and Tyler Haller, along with 12-year-old Andrew Tate each received a $50 Best Buy gift card in addition to receiving the garrison coin from Fort Stewart’s Garrison Commander, Col. Kevin Milton.

In his spare time, Camacho rebuilds cars, which explains why he enjoys building things. In addition to being a computer geek, Camacho teaches robotics to teens wanting to learn how to make robots talk, walk and draw.

Camacho credits his grandfather, Raul Vargas, for sparking his interest in building and creating art. He earned a degree in computer information technology from Draughons Junior College in Clarksville, Tenn.

Luis has always loved working with kids because he helped to raise his two younger brothers and sister. Like many military-connected kids, he taught his siblings how to cook meals and clean up around the house to help them become more independent.

“By teaching them [youth], it was easy for me to come here [youth center],” Camacho said.

The Camacho family settled here at Fort Stewart once his dad retired from the military in 1997.

Luis is married to Laura Camacho and together they have a two-year-old-daughter named Gabby. He aspires to get into a leadership role within CYSS and feels that the recent recognition will help propel him to the next level. He feels that leadership truly supports everyone who is willing to do more than what is expected of them.

Programs offered by the Fort Stewart Youth Center are vital to the installation and have the unwavering support from garrison leadership.

Fort Stewart’s Garrison Commander, Col. Kevin Milton and Fort Stewart Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin chose to celebrate the Army’s birthday at Stewart’s Youth Center.

“They [youth] are the cornerstone of this installation. It’s very important for us to support our youth. We have such a vital Youth program here on Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield… and I just think that if the word gets out… they [parents] will see the importance of it and the output of these programs in reference to taking care of our youth,” Command Sergeant Major Ervin said.

Page last updated Thu June 23rd, 2011 at 00:00