Teenagers across the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune community will have a place to spend their summer days with Teen Squad’s Summer Camp, an 11-week experience mixing the excitement of a hangout with structured activities designed to exhilarate and inspire the youth of MCB Camp Lejeune.
“It’s going to be an epic summer,” said Cedric McDonald, assistant director of Teen Squad. “They’re going to be talking about it when they go back to school.”
The summer program changed gears from previous years, when it focused on providing a safe hangout for teens. Teen Squad’s staff worked for months to craft week-long themes to explore a variety of topics leading to many activities and field trips.
The themes will include a week where teens communicate and entertain themselves without technology called Tech-no, and a week where teens will discover outdoor recreation with kayaking, skeet-shooting, archery, fishing and mountain climbing along with other activities.
During the London Olympics, Lejeune teens will compete for the gold with other neighborhood teen programs during a series of competitions.
“It’s a great morale booster for the staff as well as the teens,” said McDonald.
The teens will also have a week dedicated to technology and another where they give back to the community through a number of volunteer activities.
“My staff and I are very excited,” said McDonald. “We’re moving in a new direction with Teen Squad and this is a stepping stone in the direction.”
The goals of the camp are to build character skills within teens, teach them to lead healthy lives and to expand community relationships, said McDonald.
“Participating in Teen Squad Summer Camp provides our military youth and teens with unique opportunities,” said Patrick Larkin, youth activities director of the Stone Street Youth Pavilion who oversees Teen Squad. “It allows them to network with other military teens with similar life experiences, giving teens a larger support system for military youths experiencing difficulties with the military lifestyle. The program allows teens to interact with trusted, well-trained adults who act as mentors, guiding them through a fun-packed summer curriculum.”
The program will run Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be open for 30 teens a week, with the exception of Outdoor Adventure weeks where 20 teens will be welcome.
“I want parents to know we are here for them,” said McDonald. “I understand the long evenings at work and the deployments.”
McDonald was a military child himself and went to youth programs while growing up. He said the experience offsets the stress faced by parents in the military lifestyle.
Larkin said teenagers have a lot to gain through the camp.
“We would like our teens to keep an open mind while participating and come prepared for challenging activities,” said Larkin. “Teens will get out what they put into it. However, our staff is really good at getting teens out of their shells.”
The program will run from June 11 through Aug. 24.
For more information call the Stone Street Youth Pavilion at 450-8674, Teen Squad at 376-1531 or visit mccslejeune.com/teens.