Guard Kids "Hunt the Good Stuff" at Iowa Youth Symposium

  • Published
  • By Lori Risdal
  • 185th ARW Family Programs

Forty-eight Iowa Air and Army National Guard youth came from all over the state for a week long Military Youth Symposium at Camp Foster in Spirit Lake, Iowa. The conference was held during the week of August 3 through 9, 2014. This is the first year the camp has been available for the Air National Guard and parents from the units in Sioux City, Ft Dodge and Des Moines, Iowa took full advantage, filling 20 camp openings.  In addition to all the fun activities Camp Foster offers, like swimming, target shooting, camp fires and games, Iowa Youth Coordinators, Stan Stout and Chris Cox taught concepts useful for resilience specifically geared towards these military youth, all of whom have parents who are members of the military.


Campers learned the importance of thinking optimistically using concepts adopted from military resiliency training, already in use for active members of the military. Using a skill called "Hunt the Good Stuff", organizers talked to campers about finding positives in each situation. After memorizing the military alphabet, campers used what they learned as part of a decoding challenge. By the end of the week they were also instructed in proper handling and display of the U.S. flag.


When it was all over, campers were able to take home a packet of helpful resources along with a scrapbook they had made during the camp.  The scrapbook was filled with 'Hunt the Good Stuff' material that they can use when they are faced with many challenges upon returning to school.  Many also added to their scrap books the names of new friends they had made while at the camp in order to keep in contact with them.


"It was hard at first being away from home but by the end of the week I was crying when I had to say goodbye to some great friends I met during the week", said Morgan Finken, daughter of Major Jeff Finken of the 185th Air Refueling Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron.


Morgan went on to say that this was the first time she had gone kayaking and surf sailing. She said she also now knows how to say the military alphabet. Morgan, along with other campers also found out that they are not alone in the National Guard and now realize how many kids are impacted throughout the state by their parents being deployed.

  Organizers of the event said that with the success of this year's camp, they are planning to do it again next summer.  They said it was a great week, filled with fun, learning and making new friends.

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