Drill Team volunteers at middle school outdoor education program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Katherine Windish
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team members volunteered for the third year running at the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center supervising and mentoring sixth grade students from Bethesda, Md. during a week-long sleep-over camp.

Several activities were included during the week-long experience, including a confidence course in the woods with obstacles geared toward teamwork; a predator/prey activity about the food-chain through role playing; and a stream study that tested the quality of water in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area.

Students also took part in a map and compass activity, an interactive forestry class, sports games, skit performances, storytelling, and karaoke. Volunteers acted as camp counselors, supervising the students, allowing teachers to focus on educating them.

Drill Team members also took the opportunity to show them videos of what the Drill Team does on a day-to-day basis, giving them a different kind of role model to look up to other than a parent or a teacher.

"The teachers always tell us the kids really look up to us," said Staff Sgt. Michael Doss, Drill Team member and program volunteer. "Most of them aren't familiar with the military and having us there gives them a different kind of positive influence then they're used to."

Volunteers worked a total of 583 hours for the week. The Drill Team volunteered more than 1,200 total hours last year.

"It's important to give back," said Sergeant Doss. "The community supports us, it's our duty to give support to them as well."

Each team member had 10 to 15 students to supervise at the sleep-over camp program.

"This is a unique volunteer opportunity that allows us to interact with the kids for a longer period of time than we normally would be able to," said Sergeant Doss. "It gave us more of a chance to get to know and impact the students. Not every kid has a positive role model in their life, it's important that they have that, even just for a short time."