SFS, Youth Center host Operation Night Hoops

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Operation Night Hoops has brought together members of the 66th Security Forces Squadron and other volunteers with base teens to play basketball here on Friday nights as a way to build relationships.

Senior Airman Michael Faulk, a military working dog handler with the 66 SFS, is leading the effort.

“It’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” he said. “These kids are so thankful and so happy that people are actually taking time to come play ball with them and talk with them.”

Security Forces personnel have been running Operation Night Hoops for several years.

“Operation Night Hoops allows the 66th Security Forces Squadron to build positive relationships with teens at Hanscom through a shared interest in basketball,” Faulk said. “The relationships we build with the community are very important to us doing our job.”

The event is open to boys and girls in grades seven through 12 and takes place from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Youth Center every Friday in March.

As part of the event, teens first hear from base agencies on applicable topics, such as teen-dating violence awareness, alcohol and drug prevention and more.

“I know what kids do on base, especially when no one is looking,” Faulk said. “Being involved in kids’ lives, even if only for one night, when kids could be out doing something else, is what made me want to get involved in Operation Night Hoops.”

Faulk, who has been in the Air Force for three years, grew up on an Air Force base and attended similar events when he was a teenager.

“I participated in youth programs at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, and it was a lot of fun for me,” he said. “Looking back on those experiences, I can now see that it was a positive experience and helped get me to where I am today.”

Organizers say participation in Operation Night Hoops has grown each week.

“We are seeing more and more teens and volunteers participating from week-to-week,” said Justin Oliver, 66th Force Support Squadron teen coordinator. “It really is a lot of fun for everyone involved.”

Teen participants are base residents and many are Youth Center members.

Registration is from 7 to 8 p.m. followed by presentations from base agencies. Organized pickup basketball games begin at 9 p.m.

“It would be ideal to have more volunteers come and listen to these kids and spend time with them,” Faulk said. “They’re all really good kids.”

Operation Night Hoops has two sessions remaining, March 23 and March 30.

“The Youth Center offers a wide variety of activities for preteens and teens at Hanscom Air Force Base,” said Colleen Davis, Youth Center director. “Our goal is to provide youth a safe and fun place to hang out while supporting their physical, social, emotional and cognitive growth. Programs offered at the Youth Center, including Operation Night Hoops, foster these goals.”

For further information, contact the Youth Center at 781-225-6043 or Faulk at 781-225-6592.