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NEWS | April 28, 2023

Virginia National Guard Teen Panel celebrates Month of the Military Child

By Staff Reports

Members of the Virginia National Guard State Teen Panel came together for their fifth meeting of the season and to celebrate Month of the Military Child April 15, 2023, at an outdoor adventure park in Williamsburg, Virginia.

“It’s your day to have fun,” Jeremiah Smith, lead child and youth program coordinator, told the teens. “It’s your day to smile and feel special, but it’s also your day to push yourself and test your comfort zone, all the while, cracking open a new Master Resilience Training skill and seeing what’s inside.”

The theme for the day was “Connection,” one of the MRT skill competencies covered with youth. During MOMC more than 80,000 military-connected Youth were recognized, including Virginia National Guard teens. Together, they learned about what makes “Connection” effective, such as “Effective Praise” and “Active Constructive Responding.”

Their goal for the day was to successfully use “Effective Praise” and “Active Constructive Responding” to complete a treetop journey experience.

“As a panel and as a team, they absolutely crushed it in the trees,” Smith said. “We still hear the echoes of them cheering each other on and motivational words being shared back and forth to help each other step out of their comfort zones and accomplish each challenge.”

“Connection is a key element that our Youth Programs provides to our Guard youth,” said Teresa Merritt, state family program director. “They come from all over the state and all different backgrounds but unite as Guard youth and the special military children they are. I love seeing bonds made and the confidence the youth build with through these events. Important skills and lifelong friendships are built through this program.”

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