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THE MAKING OF A JR. WARRIOR

Military children 'deploy' in New Mexico

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Honor. Service. Duty. Three values that every service member possesses and hopes to pass on to their children.

This year, Jr. Warrior camp in Las Cruces, N.M., made parents' jobs a little easier by providing kids with interactive, hands-on activities that establish and build these values from the ground up.

Hosted by 1-200 Infantry Battalion, the camp was held August 15th at the National Guard Armory and was open to children of active duty service members between ages 6 and 16. A total of 32 children and 36 volunteers were in attendance.

Activities offered included Humvee rides, obstacle courses, rock-climbing walls, drills, demonstrations and a tour of an OH-58 Kiowa Helicopter.

"For the children, the obstacle course competition was the highlight of the event," said Command Sgt. Maj. James Rivera. "They all had a blast and finished with a great sense of pride."

With help from the VFW Military Assistance Program grant, the day's activities were followed by a delicious BBQ. Post 6917 Commander Bob Irish, also a certified chef, helped prepare the meal. During the BBQ, representatives from VFW, USAA, TRICARE and ESGR were available to answer any questions that parents may have had, making the camp both fun and informative.

"There's nothing better than working with the children of active duty service members," said Terry Benson, member of Post 7686 and Department Chief of Staff. "The smiles on the their faces said it all."

This was the first event of its kind in Las Cruces, but given its success, it will not be the last. "Now the kids have a better understanding of service and duty," said Rivera. "They come to us as children and leave Jr. Warriors."

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