Sixty educators, like eager students on the first day of class, were excited to learn about the military as they stepped off a C-130 or UH-60 upon arrival at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center June 12.
The teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators came from all four corners of the state to participate in a special event designed to educate them about the Wyoming Army National Guard.
The idea to have educators visit Camp Guernsey was discussed months ago as a way to inform the many adults who routinely work with Wyoming youth regarding the benefits and opportunities offered to potential Wyoming Army National Guard members.
“Educators are key to our success regarding informing students of the opportunities available to them in the Wyoming Army National Guard. We wanted to tell them the guard story and this was an excellent way to do so,” said Lt. Col. Bruce Delaporte, commander of the Wyoming Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
The educators arrived via airlift mid-morning and were transported to the Camp Guernsey Simulation Center where they received several briefings about the benefits, purpose, mission and opportunities that the Wyoming Army National Guard has to offer. They also received a true military lunch of MRE’s while listening to soldiers explain why they joined the Wyoming Army National Guard and what their job entails. Round-robin stations included demonstrations of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, the Virtual Convoy Operations Trainer, and shooting activities.
Jasper Warembourg, a teacher from Pinedale High School, was unaware of what the Wyoming Army National Guard could offer to high school students.
“I didn’t realize how the guard worked or even that they were an option to pay for school. This is an opportunity for kids to achieve to their highest potential and give back to the community. I was so impressed while there that I actually asked if they had opportunities for older adults like myself to serve. Then I came home and talked to my daughter about the guard,” he said.
Each activity was aimed at providing additional details about the opportunities the Wyoming Army National Guard has for Wyoming youth, in their own back yard, and also to give the professionals a glimpse into the life of a solider and the equipment they use to accomplish state and federal missions.
“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this with the guard and I’ve loved it. It’s only my first year as a guidance counselor so I wasn’t aware of any of the benefits the guard had to offer,” said Kerstin Rue, guidance counselor for Niobrara County High School.
Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general, said he is confident the experience will pepper conversations the counselors and teachers have with their students. “Our organization can offer Wyoming’s young people a great many opportunities, not only with higher education benefits but with military training and discipline that augment civilian careers. I’m confident the teachers we hosted today will relay those benefits to their students for years to come,” he said.
“It’s a solid program. I now see that the military is just one of the great options available to the students in the state. I would definitely recommend this to other educators around the state, and especially those in the classroom that work with students daily. Everything from the C-130 to the helicopter ride was just awesome. I haven’t been able to quit talking about it since coming back,” said Warembourg.
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