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Teen Council
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Hunter Vande Kamp (standing) talks about Teen Council initiatives to council members, (from left to right) Ytrenda Gulley, David Medina, Derrick Pizarro, Brandon Weir, Dominic Cook and Niko Pappas, during a meeting at the Youth Center March 24. Hanscom’s Teen Council is working on a project called My Healthy Generation to get teens active and involved with the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)
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Hanscom’s Teen Council is reaching out

Posted 3/31/2011   Updated 3/31/2011 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

3/31/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Hanscom's Teen Council, a group of nine teenagers charged with giving a voice to the teen population, is up and running and ready to make a difference.

The council, led by President Hunter Vande Kamp, a junior at Bedford High School, is busy brainstorming on a number of initiatives to improve the lives of teens on and around Hanscom.

"We're working on a project called My Healthy Generation," said Mr. Vande Kamp. "It's focused on helping kids get more active and involved."

My Healthy Generation is a project given to teen councils across the service by the Air Force's Youth Programs. It challenges teens to find new ways to solve two issues: childhood obesity and teen outreach.

"We know that a lot of kids suffer from obesity," Mr. Vande Kamp said. "Through this initiative we will try to reach out to kids at Hanscom and get them to be more active after school."

Not only will after school activities help fight obesity, but they will also provide positive youth development opportunities to teens.

According to the My Healthy Generation fact sheet provided to the council, statistics show that after school hours can be quite dangerous.

"Between 3 and 8 p.m. teens are more likely to commit or be victims of violent crimes than at any other time. Many teens are filling this discretionary time with sex, drugs, alcohol and other risky activities as they are presented with few positive alternatives," the fact sheet states.

The council decided one of the best ways to keep teens away from drugs, alcohol or other dangerous behavior was to encourage more membership with the Youth Center.

"Due to a generous donation from the Hanscom Federal Credit Union, any teen, ages 13 to 18, affiliated with Hanscom, whether they live here or their parents work here, is eligible for a free Youth Center membership," said Scott Craver, Youth Programs chief. "They can take part in any of the activities, events or trips we have."

The council is also planning more activities and community projects.

"Some of the council members are volunteering during Family Pasta Night," said Mr. Vande Kamp. "We're also setting up a wikispace web page so all teens can chime in and we can share ideas with each other."

In addition, the group hopes to implement more youth sports leagues.

But the big event for the council is a teen lock in. The lock in is scheduled for May 13 at the Youth Center. Each council across the Air Force had to submit a "challenge" for the lock in.

"We submitted a "Dance Dance Revolution" idea for the lock in," Mr. Vande Kamp said. "Not only does it encourage healthy activity, but we can also directly 'challenge' teens at other lock ins by playing it on X-Box Live."

The theme for the lock in is "Lock In, Max Out" and council members are excited.

"We haven't heard if our challenge has been accepted, but I think the event will be fun," said Mr. Vande Kamp. "All teens around the base will be invited and we hope to have a good turnout."

Throughout the year, council members will be focused on several more projects, from surveying teens to find out what events and activities they would like to see to representing teens to base leadership.

Look for further information on the lock in as the event draws near. For more information about the Teen Council or Youth Center programs, call 781-377-3739.

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