By Michelle Butzgy/ParaglideJuly 1, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Fort Bragg youth presented their top concerns to Col. Stephen Sicinski, garrison commander, at the seventh annual Fort Bragg Youth Leadership Conference held at Albritton Junior High School from June 23 to 24.
As the last activity of the conference, 53 youth listened while Sicinski and audience participants worked through issues ranging from the appearance of the installation, designated workout times for teens at the physical fitness centers to better food choices at Tolson Youth Activities Center and better sanitation at schools.
"I appreciate all the work that you've put in over the last two days coming up with these because what you're doing is you're enabling and improving the quality of life for your peers for the next few years at Fort Bragg," Sicinski said.
Bailey Roark, 15, said she enjoyed the conference. "It's great that you can get your opinion out there and get things done," she said. Roark is the daughter of Alissa and Staff Sgt. Buyrl Ewing, 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion.
The two-day conference, sponsored by the Fort Bragg Youth Education Support Services, began with youth learning how to identify issues affecting quality of life for themselves and their peers. Throughout the day, participants discussed, debated and collaborated to come up with the top three issues affecting military-connected youth at Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.
Day two was filled with workshops such as iPhone Your Day, HIRED!, Life Strategies for Teens and Preparing for the SAT/ACT. Ayanis Lindo, 15, daughter of Milka and Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo Lindo, said she enjoyed the hire program and the SAT workshop. "It was really fun," she said. Workshops change every year depending on how many people sign up and what children ask for, said Gerhard Guevarra, Fort Bragg School liaison officer.
Iris Pierce, facilitator at the conference, agreed. "They really enjoyed the workshops. They got a lot of information out of those workshops that they can use for years to come."
At the last event, participants delivered their final work before their peers, facilitators and the garrison commander. "The teens seemed very excited and involved with the issues. They did a really good job outbriefing those issues and explaining what (the issues) mean to them," said Pierce, who is also a school liaison officer.
Sicinski thanked the youth for their efforts adding, "You're helping the community."
After the outbrief, members of the Youth Action Council critiqued the conference to see how they can make it better for next year, said Guevarra.