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NEWS | July 14, 2023

Oahu-based Soldiers Inspire Next Generation During Youth Program’s Army Day

By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Delaney

Honolulu, Hawaii – A group of eager young participants gathered with Oahu-based Soldiers and University of Hawaii staff and athletes at Fort DeRussy, home of the historic U.S. Army Museum, July 14, as part of the Hawaii Youth Impact Program’s Army Day events.

The Army Day portion of the two-week youth program introduced participants to basic Army tasks, Army history and values, and other important topics like suicide awareness and team building, through booths, activities and one-on-one engagements.

The youth program, a collaborative effort between U.S. Army Pacific Soldiers, University of Hawaii staff, UH Wahine Basketball Team, and other volunteers, empowered and inspired the middle-school aged participants through an immersive experience focused on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), leadership development and Army principles.

It aims to provide opportunities for local middle school students between the ages of 10 and 14, through a combination of coaching, mentoring, and teaching, valuable skills and experiences to help them navigate their future.

U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General Gen. Charles A. Flynn encouraged participants to discover their passion by reaching out to mentors in all walks of life.

“All of you have purpose, you have to discover it and work towards it by creating goals,” said Flynn. “I want to express my thanks to all of you for participating in the program and taking it serious and having some fun at the same time. Give yourself a chance to see who you can become in the future. I want you to ‘Be All You Can Be.’”

Master Sgt. Kristin L. Stewart, the chief paralegal assigned to the 94th AAMDC, volunteered with the YIP as a way to share her Army story.

“This has been meaningful for me to give back to the local community,” said Stewart. “It was great to see these girls learn and grow through the program. They blossomed from quiet, shy girls to vibrant girl leaders.”

The Army Day and other program events fostered a sense of camaraderie, leadership, and self-confidence among the participants, helping them develop skills to excel in their academic and personal lives. Through the integration of STEM education, the program also ignites an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics among the youth.