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Minnesota National Guard
Camp Ripley Hosts Camps for Military Youth

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn- It is widely known that Camp Ripley is the primary training site for the Minnesota National Guard What many may not know is that once a year since 1991, Camp Ripley has been home to the Minnesota National Guard Youth and Teen Camp, which emphasizes patriotism Children between the ages of 10-12 and 13-15 who have a family member that is currently serving or has retired from the Minnesota Guard are eligible for the youth and teen camps

Camp Director and retired Master Sgt Richard Kemp has been volunteering for 22 years and stated, "This is one of the most rewarding things I do with my life It's amazing to see how much these kids grow in a week" His daughter Taylor, 10, is a first-time camper this year and was thrilled to see one of the Guard's UH-60 Black Hawks up close

Some of the activities that campers experience are tours of the Minnesota Military Museum, flag ceremonies, biking, archery, swimming, age-appropriate obstacle courses, and demonstrations of military vehicles and equipment to name a few

Three 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Soldiers from Mahtomedi, Minn, took the time to talk about their children that they enrolled in this year's Minnesota National Guard Youth and Teen Camps

Maj Jerome Gunn, Division logistics officer, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team headquarters, was excited to have his daughter Mica, 10, attend for the first time this year Gunn stated, "She's never spent more than a night away from home This was her first big away trip from mom and dad All that I've received back [from the staff] is that she's having a great time"

Years ago when she was a youngster herself, Warrant Officer Nicole Hughes, an all-source technician with Alpha Company, 1st Brigade of the 34th Infantry Division Brigade Special Troops Battalion attended the youth camp She enrolled her son Jack, 10, for the first time this year Hughes commented, "I think it's fair to say that I've done more cool things at that camp in a week than I've ever done wearing a uniform I've never shot a bow and arrow in uniform I've never ridden in a tank Maybe I rappelled in basic training That was about it They do everything"

The Brigade Information Services Technician, Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Chapman, was proud to have both his son Cole, 11, in youth camp and his daughter Cora, 15, in teen camp for the second consecutive year When asked what he would tell someone considering enrolling their child in youth camp, his answer resonated with the sentiments of the other two parents, "Don't hesitate; just do it"

This week's youth camp concluded with a graduation for the 69 youth campers with their parents watching proudly The ceremony began with two groups of campers, the Bradleys and the Falcons, marching into the auditorium and around the audience to showcase one of their newly honed abilities Maj Gen Richard Nash, the Minnesota National Guard's adjutant general, spoke and asked the campers about their experiences The audience was privileged to see a slideshow highlighting the events that their children had experienced Upon completion of the slideshow, each camper was announced and ran across the stage, high-fiving the staff and fellow campers as they ran The ceremony ended with the campers and counselors walking hand in hand around the auditorium singing "Proud to be an American"

For more information about the Minnesota National Guard Youth & Teen Camps, please visit their website at http://mngycorg

August 19, 2013
by Sgt Travis Scott
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs



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Lindsay Koolmo is a volunteer and the executive director for the MNGYC. She is a military spouse, a volunteer firefighter and a mutations maintenance Tech Sergeant from the 148th Fighter Wing. She has taken upon herself for years to take time off her job and spend hundreds of hours throughout the year and more than two weeks at Camp Ripley to lead the camp.

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