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NEWS | July 9, 2013

JBLE offers summer youth programs

By Staff Sgt. Dana Hill 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

With school out for the season, it can be difficult for parents to find programs to keep their children active during the summer months.

Fortunately for the Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. community, the installations' youth programs offer summer activities that aim to improve a child's team building, leadership and social skills while boosting academic performance, promoting physical health and providing a safe, structured environment for children of working parents.

The Langley Air Force Base Youth Program offers a summer day camp, conducted June through August which boasts a full range of community-based activities in a supervised and fun environment for children, said Shanda Misse, 633rd Force Support Squadron Youth Programs director.

"The children learn everything from arts and crafts, science, math and performing arts in this center, but in a less structured way than school because they have the freedom to choose what they want to learn," said Misse. "It helps them build relationships and it helps them when they return to school."

The Fort Eustis School-Age Program also offers a day camp program during the summer and includes field trips, special events and activities, and swimming pool trips. Activities are organized within four core service areas: Arts, Recreation and Leisure; Life Skills, Citizenship and Leadership; Sports, Fitness and Health; and Academic Support, Mentoring and Intervention Services.

Recently, children involved in the Langley Youth Programs were able to participate in a weeklong Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Dream Team Camp, where they were led by an instructor from NASA in builing and launching their own model rockets.

Weekly themes help foster the summer-camp experience by offering a different perspective. Each staff member is responsible for creating a catchy theme that helps the developmental learning for the week.

"We encompass several different areas in our program, [such as] sports week were we have trainers come out, or water week where we introduced them to water polo," said Kristin Benson, 733rd Mission Support Group School Age Services director. "We try to keep them hands on, encouraged and active."

With fieldtrips planned each week, campers will also be able to participate in activities such as science projects, team-building projects, swimming, writing, singing and community service events, said Benson.

Both directors agree they hope children use their creativity and imagination to enjoy the challenging, yet rewarding, activities the programs offer. They also agree that ensuring the children have fun is a top priority.

The JBLE summer youth programs also offer seasonal baseball and soccer leagues. All activities are available to dependents of active-duty military, DOD civilians, active-duty reservists or contract employees. Parents can find out more about these summer youth programs and school age services by visiting