Kids Kamp 2014 - Part 2 of 2
By Airman 1st Class Tyler Woodward, 137th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published August 04, 2014
CAMP GRUBER, BRAGGS, Oklahoma -- With a heat index of well over 100 degrees, sneakers press into blurring heat waves on the pavement. Brett Keenan, youth volunteer from Choctaw, Oklahoma, marches his group to the opening ceremony of Kids Kamp 2014 with rhythm, cohesion and purpose.
For the past 18 summers, children of National Guard members have gathered to experience Kids Kamp at Camp Gruber in Braggs, Oklahoma.
Since the age of nine, and now - nine years later -Keenan is as passionate about Kids Kamp as he was from the beginning.
Serving as a student leader, he assists a platoon of 12-year-olds through various exercises, such as rappelling, archery, drill and ceremony, fishing, firing range activities and swimming.
The week long camp tests even the most seasoned volunteers. Battling the heat, along with maintaining motivation through the long hours a volunteer normally serves is just a part of successful volunteer leadership.
Keenan focuses on serving those around him.
"You've got to want it for the kids, not yourself," said Keenan. "We want to help other people and raise them up. It's about servant leadership."
Barry McCoy, youth volunteer director, played a major role in selecting Keenan as a youth volunteer.
"He has bought into Kids Kamp and he serves the person in front of him," said McCoy. "He is the model of being a servant leader."
Kids Kamp is designed to instill core values of the Army and Air Force in children of Oklahoma National Guard members. Both branches honor selflessness as a vital component to their mission.
Keenan gives credit to Kids Kamp for developing his leadership skills and motivations.
"This camp has changed my life completely," he stated. "I don't know what I would be doing without Kids Kamp."
Keenan said he wants to continue his involvement with camp as a leader and inspire kids to return every summer.