Straight Talk: Unsupervised youth

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
School has started, the weather has cooled and we have lots of super events to kick off the fall season! Don't forget about the Minuteman Commons grand opening Sept. 8. Lt. Gen. Charles (C.R.) Davis, the new Electronic Systems Center commander, will cut the ribbon on the new facility at 3:30 p.m., and then the party begins. There will be giveaways in every room, live bands, games, free food and more. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, the fireworks show has been cancelled.

I hope you can also join us Friday morning at the POW/MIA memorial for the Sept. 11 remembrance and again Friday afternoon for Heritage of Freedom. The guest speaker is Lt. Col. Barry Bridger, who was a prisoner of war for six years during Vietnam.

Finally, the annual Hanscom Spouses Club meet and greet takes place Saturday at 6 p.m. It's an absolute must-do event for any spouse who hasn't attended. You will learn everything there is to know about living in this area: all the best places to eat, the best places to ski, the best places to shop, the best ice cream in town and more. This is a great event hosted by the most knowledgeable people on base: our Hanscom spouses.

The Straight Talk inquiry this week deals with unsupervised youth on base.

Comment: As base housing offers a lot of fine benefits for members who have children, I have noticed that there are younger and younger children running around, and more and more vandalism going on, as well. My house was attempted to be broken into by a group of children when I first moved in. My husband's vehicle has been keyed, as well. I have chased children and teenagers away from the empty house next to me repeatedly, stopping them from either breaking into the house, or being in it period. I've also spent several nights cleaning up the play ground by my house where I watch children throw trash, such as soda cans and water bottles, and I don't even have a child!

Response: We are proud to provide a safe place for young people to play safely, but at times they do get out of hand if an adult is not present. Parents are ultimately responsible for the behavior of their children, whether in sight or not. However, as part of the military family, all adults on the base bear some responsibility for holding our children accountable to basic standards of behavior. That can be done by speaking to the youth directly, speaking to the parent or calling the 66th Security Forces Squadron when needed.

Our SFS team conducts regular patrols within housing and works closely with the property management team to identify locations where youth are more likely to congregate. Another approach might be to talk to your neighbors to share concerns. If you know the parents, then you should share with them that their kids are raising a ruckus. I know that the housing office would appreciate you telling them if you have seen youth gathering around vacant homes.

One of the joys of living on base is the safe environment. It remains safe because we take action to make it so. We are each accountable and we hold others accountable, as well.