MacDill Youth Center staying connected during social distancing

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ryan C. Grossklag
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

While office closures and social distancing are keeping service members on MacDill Air Force Base away from their work centers and daily routine, many have turned to teleworking and conferencing to accomplish necessary tasks.

MacDill’s Youth Center is using social media outlets and Zoom conferencing to maintain relationships with military connected youth.

“The Youth Team wanted to maintain relationships with our military connected youth while keeping them engaged as there is a tendency for a lot of downtime for students right now,” said Harold Hug, the 6th Force Support Squadron director of youth programs. “We currently have a Facebook page and wanted to link everything through that. Youth that want to participate can upload their challenge videos there.”

Throughout the month of April, Hug and his team created a schedule of activities ranging from LEGO® building and push-up challenges, to submitting videos recreating a dance or playing a musical instrument. Mixed in with these daily activities are Zoom conferences for club and program members to maintain their connections.

“A portion of our Air Force required Boys and Girls Clubs of America Five Core and 4-H programs: Torch and Keystone Clubs, Smart Girls, Teen Council, and one 4-H program are participating in conferences,” said Hug. “These conferences will be conducted for our current youth members to maintain continuity with our staff and programming.”

It is essential to maintain these connections to ensure members know that while they are separated from the youth center, the staff misses working with them and that they are still there to support the military youth.

“The ultimate goal is to foster our relationships as well as foster the resiliency in our MacDill youth,” said TaNashea McLeod, the 6th FSS youth programs training and curriculum specialist. “We’re continuing to offer our programs and activities to keep their minds active during this strenuous time while building their self-esteem through a sense of accomplishment.”

Visit the MacDill AFB Youth Center Facebook page for more information on how to get military youth involved and updates to encourage children to remain active.