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NEWS | Feb. 7, 2023

Virginia National Guard Youth Program gears up for busy 2023

By Staff Reports |

The new year has kicked off for the Virginia National Guard Youth Program with a number of activities as they prepare for this summer’s Youth Camp.

"We'd like to thank everyone for making the events of 2022 some of our finest,” said Jeremiah Smith, lead child and youth program coordinator. “The Virginia National Guard Youth Program had some major triumphs. Bringing our highly anticipated Annual Youth Camp back in person, supporting Yellow Ribbons across Virginia, and returning to our Regional Youth Symposiums with our teens in West Virginia. We are so excited to move forward into this new year where we will continue to create meaningful experiences, memories, and connections as we support our youth, Soldiers and families.”  

The Virginia National Guard State Teen Panel met Jan. 7, 2023, to discuss effective problem solving, develop the 18th Annual Youth Camp theme, and to practice some real-time resilience on the ice. 

Applications for the Teen Panel are still open for teens ages 13-17.

“We want you to be a part of something bigger,” Smith said. “By joining the Virginia National Guard State Teen Panel, you'll have the opportunity to grow and improve your communication skills, experience being mentored and will even have the chance to mentor youth who will look up to you for leadership and guidance in all areas of life. While you'll be strengthening those valuable leadership skills throughout the year at retreats and events, you'll also gain volunteer hours for school clubs, jobs, and/or your college goals. With your knowledge, skills, and abilities, you will soar with the panel.”

State Teen Panel Application -

Returning State Teen Panel Members apply here-

In the immediate future Youth Programs is preparing for their Month of the Military Child Kick-Off Event. They will partner with Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation & Events for the event April 1, 2023, from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. in Fredericksburg. The free event is for youth ages 7-12 and will include canoeing, hiking, kayaking, s’mores and more. Spots are limited.

For more information and to register for the MOMC Kick Off Event -

The 18th Annual Virginia National Guard Youth Camp will be held July 23-28, 2023 in Virginia Beach. The camp is open to children ages 8-12 and they are currently accepting new and returning volunteers.

“As we continue to build the success of our Annual Youth Camp, we realize it takes a village of our many dedicated and hardworking Youth program Volunteers to be by our side making this a memorable and unforgettable experience for our youth,” Smith said. “We are so grateful for your contributions and the difference you are making in the lives of our youth. Youth Camp season is here, and we are anxious to get working with our volunteers. Now is the time to get registered.

“We always remind our support team that whether gratuitous or statutory, adult or teen, civilian or military, every volunteer is so important to making this work,” Smith added. “You are never ‘just’ a volunteer. If you would like to make a difference and become a part of this amazing team and tradition with our Youth, please follow the link below and become a camp volunteer today.”  

Youth Camp Volunteers can register here -

In addition, the Youth Program is looking for feedback with their Soldier-Parent Satisfaction Survey. Any personnel who have participated in, or utilized resources and services through Army National Guard Child Youth Services events or programs can complete the survey. Feedback is appreciated and information gathered from these surveys will help identify areas of strength, as well as areas for improvement within the program.

The Soldier-Parent Satisfaction Survey -

“Virginia National Guard Family Programs, Youth Programs and our amazing volunteers are a team,” said Teresa Merritt, state family programs director. “We are here to build our National Guard youth for their futures, give them a voice, make meaningful connections, and give them the tools to conquer their goals and dreams.” 

For any, questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to Jeremiah Smith, Lead Child and Youth Program Coordinator at or (434) 294-5788. 

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