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News from CNREURAFCENT

NASSIG Keystone Club Youth Attend Leadership Conference

19 August 2022

From Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Triniti Lersch, Naval Air Station Sigonella Public Affairs Office

Keystone Clubs provide leadership development opportunities for young people from the ages of 14 to 18. Youth participate in focus-area activities like academic success, career preparation and community service. With the guidance of adult advisors, Keystone Clubs aim to have a positive impact on the young members, the Club and the community.The
Keystone Clubs provide leadership development opportunities for young people from the ages of 14 to 18. Youth participate in focus-area activities like academic success, career preparation and community service. With the guidance of adult advisors, Keystone Clubs aim to have a positive impact on the young members, the Club and the community.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) hosts an annual National Keystone Conference for Boys & Girls Club teens that brings together members from all across the globe. Throughout the conference, Keystone members engage and socialize with peers, explore relevant issues, and develop skills to support and enhance efforts in their local Boys & Girls Clubs and communities.

The Keystone Conference recognized and celebrated teens from across the world that have demonstrated leadership in academic success, career preparation, community service and teen outreach. It additionally provided opportunities for teens to network, explore, and discus pressing topics that are important to them and come up with solutions on how teens can use the knowledge gained to create the change they want to see and be.

“Recently two youths from Sigonella received the opportunity to attend the 2022 Boys and Girls Club of America Keystone Conference and Military Teen Ambassador Conference in Anaheim, Calif.,” said Channette Ingram, the CYP Teen Coordinator. “They flew from Sigonella all the way to California to attend this conference.”

One of those teens was Lorelei Lewis who was living on Naval Air Station Sigonella for three years until moving to Rota, Spain. With her father being in the Navy for 22 years, Lewis has lived many places, however, she was born in Lemoore, Calif. but raised in San Diego.

Lewis is currently the Vice president of the Mt. Etna Keystone Club, and has recently received the opportunity to attend conferences and participate in discussions on how to improve the club and programs that the BCGA will be providing in the near future.

“I was chosen for this opportunity because I, along with two others, dedicated my time and effort to reviving Sigonella’s Keystone and 4-H club in the community,” said Lewis. “Though the Youth Complex was temporarily closed, my fellow members and I worked to plan virtual BGCA events throughout the year, in addition to carrying out multiple community service and teen outreach projects such as Grab ‘n’ Go’s and Minute-2-Win-It activities.”

Lewis attended two separate conferences the Military Child Ambassador Conference (MTA), and the Keystone Conference.

“Throughout the MTA Conference, we discussed leadership skills, confidence, and self-identity. We explored what it means to be an advocate for others and to be uniquely true to yourself,” said Lewis. “Teen ambassadors also set the groundwork for future MTA conferences and helped provide recommendations for military teen needs on resources like Myfuture.net. Throughout the Keystone Conference, the core theme was that we, as young individuals, are powerful, and we have a voice. We attended many sessions that helped us to empower ourselves and handle our time wisely. Motivational speakers encouraged us to dream big but set attainable goals, work hard for our future, and never let the opinions of others let us down. In the discussion about improving the clubs and programs, I suggested that the activities and community service events be run almost entirely by the young leaders involved, because it fosters a sense of responsibility and helps get teens motivated to participate and build camaraderie.”

For Lewis, this opportunity was enlightening. She got to meet many strong, empowering young leaders and help build the groundworks for future conferences.

“I enjoyed learning about other programs that I hadn’t previously known existed, such as the Civil Air Patrol,” said Lewis. “My favorite part, however, was the connections we got to make with so many unique individuals. Disney was fun, too.”

Lewis said she learned a lot at these conferences.

“I learned that it’s important to value your time and efforts and be true to yourself,” said Lewis. “There were many sessions in the Keystone Conference, specifically, that gave me insight into my personal character and habits and how to use my knowledge of myself to better myself. I feel like I walked away with a much better understanding of myself and the people I’ve worked with in the past.”

She says that these conferences will help her in the future because she can hone in on the skills she’s learned and apply them to the future challenges and overcome them confidently.

“I am positive that with my knowledge of the different things that motivate and drive others, I will be more open minded to the varying needs and work methods of the people around me in the future,” said Lewis.
 
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