Children enjoy outdoors, learning at Camp Sunshine

by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs

7/23/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- Maxwell, in conjunction with the Tukabatachee area of the Boy Scouts held the 11th annual Camp Sunshine program at the Maxwell Base Lakes, Monday.

Fifty boys, ages six through 12 spent this week learning activities such as archery, target shooting, swimming and military dog training.

Michael Collins, executive for the Boy Scouts and camp director, said that each year, the children always enjoy their weeklong visit to Maxwell.

"The types of activities that are provided by Maxwell during Camp Sunshine are really appreciated by the boys," said Collins. "Camp Sunshine gives them a learning experience that they otherwise may not receive outside of the program. Every year, as we depart, I always notice that the boys are excited to go back and share their experiences with their friends and family and it makes me feel that the camp has made an impact in their lives."

"One of the benefits to the camp is the great volunteers provided to us by Maxwell," Collins added.

Staff Sgt. Charles Walker, a camp volunteer, from Gunter said he really enjoys volunteering and teaching the boys target shooting.

"I think the boys like target shooting the most," said Walker. "They're all really eager to learn how to work the rifle and master their aim. However, I am aware that such knowledge could sometimes do more harm than good, so I try to focus heavily on the discipline aspect of target training and really get them to feel more prideful rather than dangerous with a rifle in their hands."

Walker went on to say, "These boys are a part of the future of country and I'm trying my best to contribute to making that future as bright as possible,"

Describing the entire week as an "awesome experience," 8-year-old Jamichael Brown, said his favorite part of the program was learning to work the BB gun rifles.

"I used to be afraid of guns," Brown said. "But, after, shooting one, I don't think that they are as bad as I thought. They just can't get into the hands of bad guys, and I'm not a bad guy."

Carla Martin, 42nd Air Base Wing special events coordinator and protocol officer, said she enjoys the program and feels that Camp Sunshine provides life lessons for the boys along with summer fun.

"I have been the coordinator for this event for the past four years, and I truly believe that the camp instills life values in to the boys by the time they leave. They have fun, spend time in a positive environment and learn to work together, share, take turns and be patient. I am very proud to be a part of this program," she said.

Col. Trent Edwards, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, is equally pleased with Camp Sunshine.

"I am very proud of our relationship with the River Region area. Camp Sunshine in conjunction with the Boy Scouts is yet another demonstration of how closely we work with the local community to help build responsible future leaders," he said.

Col. Edwards also praised military men and women who support the program.

"I am thankful for all the Airmen across Team Maxwell/Gunter who volunteered their time to be a part of this very worthwhile program," he said.