By Kevin Goode, ParaglideAugust 24, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Aug. 24,2012) -- The secret world of the Fort Bragg Soldier was revealed Aug. 14, as more 30 teens ranging from 12 to 18 years old took part in the fifth annual Teen Soldier For a Day event.
Teen participants gathered at Tolson Youth Activities Center to begin the look inside daily military life.
"During the 2007 Youth Conference, one of the teens' top issues was that they (teen family members and dependents) didn't know what their parents did on Fort Bragg," said Gerhard Guevarra, a school liaison officer.
"Teen Soldiers For a Day was created to give dependent and civilian teens an opportunity to experience some of the training Fort Bragg Soldiers experience."
Teen Soldier For a Day focuses on demystifying what Soldiering is about by giving participants opportunities to train like Soldiers. The day started with morning physical training, ceremony and drill instruction and an obstacle course -- all before lunch.
"The things we do out here with these guys is a great way to give them an idea of what it is that we do here in the Army," said Staff Sgt. Jose Velazquez, of the 108th Air Defense Artillery.
In the afternoon, teens focused on engagement skills training and a leadership reaction course.
"Being out here makes it easier to understand what my dad's doing out there every day," said Emily Becherini, 18. "It's really great having that experience that he's had and I really appreciate him more knowing this."
Even though the day focused on educating the teens, many parents followed their children to each exercise to witness the lessons being taught.
"The two events I want to see my kids participate in are the obstacle course and the leadership reaction course," said Phillip Edwards, a retired Soldier. "I like the LRC because it puts them in a leadership role to kind of see how they react to it. I think they will get the most out of it because it actually trains them (teens) to think on their feet."
To some of the teens this was just a day in the life of a Soldier, but to others, the event may have been a look into their future.
"This was great in the fact that some of these same people, some day, may be my teammates," said Becherini. "I plan on joining the military after college."