Youth bake holiday goodies for Gunter Airmen



by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs


12/14/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al  -- It was just a regular day on duty at Gunter Annex for members of the 42nd Security Forces Squadron and the fire department when they were surprised with warm baked goodies, hand delivered by the children of Gunter's Youth Center Dec. 6.

It's a tradition that center program manager Alfred Frazier said started more than 25 years ago.
Every year, the kids are excited to show their appreciation for what the Airmen do every day, according to Latoya Box, an adult supervisor at the center.

"Every year around the holiday season, we'll give the troops and the fire department treats," she said. "They support our community, so this is a way we can show them how much we appreciate all that they do."

She also added that many of the youth have been participating in this event since they started coming to the center.

"The kids absolutely love it. We've had kids who have been doing this since they were 9 and do it every year now. Some are going on 13 and 14 and still enjoying it," Box said. "It's something they look forward to doing every year."

The center's cooking club, which meets every other Friday, teaches children the proper techniques, safety and cleanliness necessary to create tasty treats like cookies, cake, fudge, rice treats and cupcakes. Those who are a part of the club had a chance to try out their skills as they baked peanut butter, sugar and chocolate chip cookies and sticky marshmallow treats for the Airmen.

It's a big deal not only for the service members, but for the children as well, Box said.
"They like this, where they can put all their practice and hard work to the test in making something for someone else," she said. "I think, though, the troops enjoy it more than the kids do."

Giving back is what the season is all about for one youth, Kameron Moore, 13, who has been a part of the center for four years and every year has baked her specialty: sugar cookies with a thick layer of vanilla frosting.

"I like it because they are always really appreciative of it," she said. "I think they like it because they probably don't have people coming out to bring them something that often."
She also said it's a time for the youth to come together and help each other.

"I like how we get to come together because everybody's a different age," Kameron said. "But when we're cooking, we seem to come together over cookies."

When delivering the baked treats to multiple security gates and the fire department, they were greeted with smiles from those on duty.
Lt. Josh Neighbors, a firefighter, was truly appreciative.

"We really appreciate when you guys come over here and give us gifts like this," he said. "Thank you and Merry Christmas!"