Delaware National Guard Youth Camp runs July 29 to Aug. 4 at Bethany Beach for 125 children of Soldiers and Airmen

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Delaware National Guard Bethany Beach Training Site
163 Scannell Boulevard
Bethany Beach, DE 19930-9770

July 27, 2007

Primary contact: Chief Master Sgt. Dawn Peet, Youth Camp Chief Administrator, cell 302-379-5793, on site 24/7 at the youth camp.

Alternate contact: Capt. Patty Rowley, Public Affairs Officer, Delaware Air National Guard, cell 302-249-9617

Directions to Bethany Beach youth camp at bottom of release. News media are invited to cover events starting Monday morning July 30, through Saturday morning, Aug. 4.

BETHANY BEACH, Delaware - About 125 youth, age 9 to 17 years old, plus 60 adults arrive Sunday July 29 in Bethany Beach to engage in a week of fun learning activities that ends seven days later at Noon on Saturday Aug. 4.

The youth are dependents of active and retired military members of Soldiers or Airmen in the Delaware National Guard. About 20 of the kids have a parent that is currently deployed overseas to a combat zone. This number has increased by four since last year. Other kids have had one or more parents deployed overseas since Sept. 11, 2001.

There are 75 kids age 9-12, plus 50 youth leaders age 13-17, comprised of junior counselors in training, junior counselors and assistant senior counselors. Campers participate in classes, excursions, arts/crafts, recreational events and team building exercises.

Three former campers who have gone on to pursue military careers will return as senior counselors. One is on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, one is an Army ROTC student from Texas A&M University, and one is a Midshipman from the Naval Academy who just completed her first year with special permission to leave the academy to attend the camp. One former camper is currently stationed in Korea on U.S. Air Force active duty.

This year's camp theme is Military Traditions, and a variety of events are built around this theme. For example, all kids will ride a Coast Guard boat out of the US Coast Guard Station in Indian River Inlet after a safety briefing, and on Aug. 2 visit static displays from all branches of the military. There will be fun-filled activities at many local venues to include bowling, a trip to Frontier Town in Ocean City and Jungle Jim's in Rehoboth.

This is the seventh year of the camp, begun in 2001 with 41 youth served. The camp, named "Camp Colwell" in honor of current Camp Director Ernie Colwell and his wife Joyce, provides a positive experience for the youth of the Delaware National Guard family in a safe and caring environment. Youth are admitted regardless of age, class or background. One-quarter of camp expenses are borne by families, with 75 percent of expenses paid for by donations from the local community

Youth stay overnight on the secure facilities of the Delaware National Guard facility, with adults awake all night to keep an eye on the youth and the facility. Teams of kids awaken as early as 5:30 a.m. to perform small chores and get exercise walking and marching and singing fun songs with fellow kids in their individual platoons.

A lot of self and group respect is taught by word and example, and a lot of laughter and fun can also be heard as the kids get to know each other and have fun. There will also be some learning as well in areas such as alcohol education and emotional wellbeing.

There are five platoons of youth, with four platoons for kids age 9-12, and one for youth leaders aged 13-17. Each platoon wears different color T-shirts, and develops their own sense of group spirit and fellowship.

There are many activities during the week. There is a computer lab, global positioning satellite systems training, bowling, a rope course and other fun recreational activities plus arts and crafts.

Organized activities begin 8:00 a.m. and last until 5:00 p.m., and then the kids have time with their choice of activities until 8:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Saturday's closing ceremony starts 11:00 a.m. and ends at Noon. The kids participate in a fun march, with songs and enthusiastic marching chants. It is known for cheers, laughter and lots of hugs, capping off a week of sharing new experiences and new friendships.

FOR DETAILS ABOUT DAILY ACTIVITIES: Call Chief Master Sgt. Dawn Peet, Youth Camp Chief Administrator, cell 302-379-5793, on site 24/7 at the youth camp.

DIRECTIONS: The camp is located 3 blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, about 14 miles from Ocean City, Md., and 10 miles from Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Driving south from Wilmington and Dover: head south on Route 1 into Bethany Beach. Just before you cross Route 26, on the right you will see Delaware National Guard Bethany Beach Training Site signs with a large static display of a Huey helicopter next to the highway. Go past the main gate, and turn right immediately on the next road, the south gate, immediately after the barbecue pits. Drive slow.

FACILITY ACCESS: If you arrive Monday, to get access into facility you must call Dawn Peet, Youth Camp Chief Administrator, cell 302-379-5793. As a secondary contact Tuesday-Saturday call 302-854-7901 (billeting office) to gain access to facility.

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