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Family Readiness Corner: Child & Youth Volunteer Program

Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif. -- A very important part of the Family Assistance Network is the CNG Child and Youth Program. The Child and Youth Program is here to meet the needs of National Guard Children throughout the state of California. The CYP hosts many events yearly to include camps and leadership training. Eight members represented the 129th Rescue Wing at the National Guard Volunteer Child & Youth training in Camarillo, Calif.

Mrs. Jerica Lovett, the new State Child & Youth Program Coordinator, developed this workshop and designed Team Building Kits to train volunteers how to plan and prepare a Youth event, facilitate team building activities, conduct icebreaker exercises, debrief activities, conduct assessment of organization need, and are given tips on managing challenging personalities.

Each kit contains objects and tools that correspond with thought-provoking exercises intended to introduce conflict resolution, trust, and communication skills. These kits are issued and distributed to Guard Wellness Center Armories and Airman & Family Readiness Offices.

"The class was very inspirational as well as educational," said Master Sgt. David Snyder, a volunteer from the 129th Security Forces Squadron. "I have not only attended courses similar to this but I have facilitated them myself and I must say that I was very impressed."

The course was very well thought out, keeping everyone on point to meet all objectives, and at the same time kept the attendees engaged and focused, Sergeant Snyder said.

"This training allowed me to see how our deployments are impacting our children and families, it also allowed me the opportunity to see how we as Airman play an important role in helping prepare our families for our departures and returns from deployments," said Senior Airman Steven Robinson, a volunteer from the 129th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "It is vital for us to understand the impact our deployments have on our families and loved ones"

This training covers subjects like trust, communication, following instructions, giving instructions, and commitment. These are tools that can be utilized by Airman and Supervisors, he said.

"The training was so amazingly enriching that when I returned to my civilian employer, I was offered the opportunity to utilize some of the activities I learned with the children I work with," said Airman Robinson. "I look forward to sharing some of the activities with my fellow Airman and their families."

Mrs. Elaine Vindiola and Ms. Micayla Wiltron, two of our Airman & Family Readiness Program Volunteers Coordinators, returned with a renewed energy and excitement committed to facilitating youth activities at their individual unit picnics slated for the summer

Previous to this workshop, Master Sgt. Alan Barnett, a volunteer from the 129th Maintenance Squadron, along with Air Force retiree Joseph Jolly and myself, Carolann Wunderlin, completed the States first Volunteer Training in Anaheim last year.

Quickly thereafter, our small team of three was the first to support an ANG-hosted Yellow Ribbon Event in beautiful Ventura, Calif. utilizing the first team-building kit received at the State Child & Youth Program.

These activities were great for breaking the ice and facilitating an environment of trusted sharing. Teens spoke of their deployment and reintegration experiences and could feel validated for concerns and emotions surrounding all phases of the deployment cycle.

Our recently trained team is a valuable asset to our Wing and can be asked to support your unit event whenever you require Child and youth support. Additionally, they are required to follow up their training with a completed LifeScan background check and sign a State and Wing Volunteer Agreement. To contact one of our newly trained volunteers, please contact the 129 RQW Airman & Family Readiness Office at 650-603-9118.

Thanks again to our great volunteers:
Master Sgt. Alan Barnett, 129th Maintenance Squadron
Master Sgt. David Snyder, 129th Security Forces Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Elias Gonzalez, 129th Security Forces Squadron
Senior Airman Steve Robinson, 129th Logistics Readiness Squadron
Airman 1st Class Danielle Dunker, 129th Rescue Wing
Mrs. Elaine Vindiola, 129th Mission Support Group Program Volunteer Coordinator
Mrs. Micayla Wiltron, 129th Operations Group Program Volunteer Coordinator
Mrs. Cheylynne Shinogoitewa

California National Guard Child and Youth Program staff is located throughout the state, if you would like additional information contact Ms. Jerica Lovett, the Child and Youth Program Coordinator, at 916-854-3713 or jerica.e.lovett.ctr@us.army.mil or visit them online at http://www.calguard.ca.gov/readyfamilies/Pages/child_youth.aspx. For more information about the Airman and Family Readiness Office and its programs please visit http://www.129rqw.ang.af.mil/resources/familyreadiness.asp.