BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The youth center hosted a quarterly winter lock-in for the youth of the Buckley military community Jan. 13-14, 2017, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
The lock-in was an event which allowed Buckley youth to spend an entire night with their peers in a fun, safe and developmental environment. The event featured a dialog with Buckley law enforcement which allowed the youth to discuss the relationship between civilians and police in this day and age.
This particular lock-in had two specific focuses. For preteens ages 9 to 12 the focus was on resiliency and reintegration with fun activities, and for teenagers ages 13-18, the focus was a discussion with security forces officers.
“The dialog with law enforcement comprised of a question and answer session where teens, as well as police officers, were able to answer questions about each other,” said Mr. Vincent Kurtz, Buckley Youth Sports and Teen coordinator.
This open conversation allowed for the teens to express their views and feel that their opinions or suggestions were valued.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Sanders, 460th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of confinement and operations support staff and Staff Sgt. Tara Thompson, a 460th SFS member, answered questions on how the youth view law enforcement, why law enforcement officers outside of the gates are perceived as aggressive, as well as asking the teens what they thought security forces could do to help bridge the gap between officers and teens on base.
“There was a lot of success between how teens look at law enforcement and how law enforcement may address teens,” said Sanders. “Having the panel helped bridge many misunderstandings that teens have toward law enforcement and vice versa.”
After the dialog, Ernesto Flores and Danielle Wright, both teen leaders for the youth center, conducted a resiliency session which was very effective by the peer to peer delivery of the information. The rest of the night was comprised of basketball and table tennis tournaments, movies, pizza for dinner and French toast for breakfast.
“Events like this allow military youth to come together in a safe and fun environment and participate in activities that are fun,” said Kaureen Whittaker, Buckley Youth Center programs chief. “The biggest advantages for participating in any youth program is that it allows the military youth to get to know other military youth who can relate to many of the same challenges or everyday things that they may go through.”
The youth center’s program areas encompass character and leadership, arts, health and life skills, sports, fitness and recreation, and education and career development, and are designed around the well-being of children and youth.
“I would just like to thank the 460th SFS, especially Tech Sgt. Sanders and Staff Sgt. Thompson for taking their time to talk to our teens about this important issue,” said Whittaker. “I believe that building these relationships between military youth and other base agencies is what makes our community stronger.”