USO Metro hosts youth ‘boot camp’
Joint Forces Headquarters National Capital Region/Military District of Washington Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Williams shouts out at-ease orders to the “inductees.”

How often is it that children get to do the same things their parents do every day? More than 75 military children had that opportunity at Fort Belvoir’s Castle Park July 20.

The USO of Metropolitan Washington hosted Operation Basic Boot Camp, a one-day program aimed at getting childre active by highlighting important skills their parents use in the field.

It was a hot and humid day with temperatures reaching 95 F before noon. Once the youth were checked in, they were turned over to their drill instructors " a drastic step for most of them.

They had 30 seconds to run up and change into their new T-shirts, and then had to hustle over to physical training with their drill instructors.

Once the children were finished with PT, they welcomed Elaine Rogers, president of USO-Metro; and Col. John Strycula, Fort Belvoir garrison commander; for a few words of advice.

Strycula emphasized teamwork and wanted the youth to learn what their parents go through on a day-to-day basis. He also reminded them to stay hydrated because safety always comes first.

The youth went to their stations to complete tasks like eye examinations, sit-ups, pushups and shaving head-shaped balloons with a razor.

After they finished up their stations, an inflated obstacle course waited for them to run through.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Bryce Hairston, 12, said with a huge smile on his face. “At first, I didn’t think I could do it. But, once the drill instructors started yelling at me, it really motivated me to believe I could do it.”

Both of Bryce’s parents served in the Air Force for more than 20 years and his mother is still active duty.

After lunch, the children separated into groups for some team-building activities and face-painting to help them blend in with their surroundings.

The youth ended the day with a game of Capture the Flag, which became very competitive by the end. Once the game finished, they all got together and ate snacks.

All participants received certificates stating their completion of the first USO-Metro Operation Basic Boot Camp.

Page last updated Thu July 28th, 2011 at 16:12