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March 22, 2013

Community

McCoy teen program to participate in  Lock-In April 26-27

By Robert Dozier, Installation Management Command

Military teens across the globe will collaborate in the first Operation Megaphone Worldwide Lock-In this April.

Led by the Army Teen Panel and their colleagues from the Air Force and Navy teen councils during the Month of the Military Child, the event, which will be held April 26-27, is designed to connect all military youth interactively for one 24-hour period, according to organizers.

Youth from all military branches could potentially interact with others living in 10 countries around the world.

Participants will engage as peers and inspire each other through competitions, challenges and events.

Cori Yahnke, Fort McCoy Child, Youth, and School Services (CYSS) Youth Center (YC) director, said the Fort McCoy Teen Program will participate by holding a lock-in.

“We think the lock-in will be a lot of fun,” Yahnke said. “The youth are always excited about lock-ins and we will incorporate many of the Operation Megaphone activities, which should add a fun twist to the event. We also are hoping to find other YC programs to reach out to during the night via Facebook or other means.”

This event gives everyone a chance to showcase the work they are doing locally and learn from the ideas and accomplishments of other teens in the military Family.

“I think the lock-in event will be a great chance for our youth to break down the barriers between the other services,” said Stacy Wendt, Army youth development specialist, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM). “The teens realize as military kids they face similar challenges but have never been given the opportunity to connect in this way before.”

The lock-in “will be a great event for youth to connect around the world,” said Kevin Montgomery, IMCOM G9 Youth Program branch chief.

The Army Teen Panel is made up of youth leaders from installations around the world who work together to voice concerns to senior military leaders on problems affecting their community and to bring about change.

Operation Megaphone is the first joint services collaborative project designed to address three universally identified Military Youth Program goals: to increase participation in positive Military Youth Programs, to bridge the communication divide between school support programs and transitioning military youth, and to design effective marketing to military youth.

The youth-led initiative was an outcome of the first Joint Services Teen Council meeting in July 2012. That meeting brought together the Air Force, Army, and Navy teen councils in conference for the first time. After a week of collaboration it became evident the concerns each council was working to address were not unique to their branch of service. Operation Megaphone was created as a unifying program to help leverage the ideas and needs of the participants. Read more at the website http://www.army.mil/article/84927/First_Joint_Services_Teen_Council_meets_in_San_Antonio/.

The Army Teen Panel is managed by the CYSS program in the U.S. Army Installation Management Command. CYSS supports the Army Family Covenant by reducing conflict between mission readiness and parental responsibility.

(See related story, McCoy Month of the Military Child.) (See related story, IMCOM Month of the Military Child.)

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