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Teens connect, support one another nationwide

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jaimi Upthegrove
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Air Reserve Component Teen Leadership Council members volunteered during a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration event here Nov 20-22.

The council is a nationwide group of 14 teens from Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard families. It provides a youth perspective in the planning, implementation and evaluation of Guard/Reserve youth programs.  

Teens speak on behalf of the youth at selected functions and programs, including Yellow Ribbon which promotes the well-being of reservists and their families by connecting them with resources before and after deployments.

Yellow Ribbon began in 2008 following a congressional mandate for the Department of Defense to assist reservists and National Guard members in maintaining resiliency as they transition between their military and civilian roles.

Each year, the Air Force Reserve program trains 7,000 reservists and family members in education benefits, health care, retirement information and more.

Three of the council members volunteered for room monitor duties, manning a table to promote awareness of the council, and were able to speak to leaders of the event. Room monitors scan each person who enters a breakout session so they can get credit for attending.

Volunteer efforts aside, the most important contribution the teen leadership council makes is connecting. 

“The most significant part of this council is the connections we make,” said Biannca Recoder, council member from San Antonio, Texas. “Being teens of Guard and Reserve parents presents unique challenges that most of the teens in your area know nothing about.”

Recoder said having someone to talk to who understands makes all the difference in the world. 

“It’s shocking living in a town so full of military, how many teens in my school have no idea what it’s like to have one parent in the military, let alone both,” said Recoder. “They certainly don’t understand the unique challenges having parents in the Guard and Reserve poses.” 

Council member Nathan Williams of Mason, Ohio, said that some teens can be unintentionally cruel because they simply don’t understand the strain these families are constantly under.

“Having a circle of friends who understand all over the world to reach out to when times get tough is a truly empowering thing,” Williams said.

According to Williams the council teaches teens the value and benefit of being a good leader as well as how to do it successfully.  It gives big-picture perspective, he said. 

“I have seen so much change in many of my friends in this council,” said Williams. “They came into the program just fun-loving teens and now they are full blown leaders at such a young age from the experiences they’ve received through the council.”

Williams recently launched a Facebook page and group along with an Instagram profile to help teens stay connected and give them better access to information about the program.

Some of the youth programs include Teen Adventure Camp and Military Kids Camps that partner with local 4-H programs.

For more information on the youth programs available or to apply to the council visit