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Randolph Youth Center club fosters leaders through outdoor activities

By David DeKunder | Wingspread staff writer | Oct. 5, 2007

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas —  Because of a Randolph Youth Center program, teenagers will develop life skills through outdoor activities and games. 

The Training Responsible Adolescents In Leadership club, known as TRAIL, meets every Monday at the youth center at 5:30 p.m. The outdoor club is open to youth ages 13-18. 

Youth director Jeri Peterson said TRAIL helps teenagers develop the confidence they need to succeed in whatever they do in life, whether it's at school, home or in their future careers. 

When the club meets at the youth center, the teens participate in games and activities that allow them to use their leadership, communication, problem solving and conflict resolution skills in completing a task. 

During the meetings, the youth plan weekend outdoor and recreation field trips, which allow them to utilize the same skills they have learned at their meetings. Activities the youth participate in are camping, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking and swimming. 

"We discuss what they were asked to accomplish, what they had to do to get it done and how they can apply what they learned to school, family life and getting a job," Ms. Peterson said. 

The club will also participate in community service projects. 

Whether it's through games, outdoor activities or community service projects, Ms. Peterson said teens are learning how to work and solve problems as a team.
Ms. Peterson said TRAIL opens new doors for the youth. 

"They are learning how to appreciate the outdoors and the natural resources," she said. "TRAIL gives them opportunities they may not have had otherwise, through camping and the obstacle courses. They can develop physical skills through activities such as hiking and swimming and it ties into our Fit Factor slogan - 'Get up, get out and get fit.'"
Ms. Peterson is encouraging parents or young adults to help out. 

"We want outdoor-minded volunteers who want to make a difference in a teenager's life," she said. 

For information about TRAIL, contact Ms. Peterson at 652-3298.