2IBCT ‘Dragons’ support Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

| November 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

Students from across the island of Oahu alongside JROTC students from Nanakuli and Waianae High School participate in the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp. Don Arakaki (pictured left in blue) briefs the young leaders on the events they will be participating in for the day at the Pililaau Army Recreational Center in Waianae. Soldiers from 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division assisted in the event with medics as well as individuals to assist in water activities. (Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Jordan Linder)

Story and photos by
1st Lt. Jordan Linder
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

WAIANAE — With the turkey in the oven and family all around, Thanksgiving is a great time to relax. However, some choose to spend their holiday weekend by giving back to the local community.

That’s the case for Soldiers of the 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, who participated in the 2017 Oahu Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) on Nov. 24 at the Pililaau Army Recreational Center, here, on the Waianae Coast.

Rotary Youth
RYLA is an intensive coed leadership training and development program designed for 10th and 11th grade students for Hawaii public and private schools.
The 225th BSB provided basic first aid and water safety support that allowed the students to carry out their waterborne activities.

Ranging from Mililani Middle School to schools up and down the Waianae coast, battalions within 2IBCT are formally partnered with schools and organizations all across the island of Oahu, under U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Partnership of Ohana program, which gives units the ability to build close relationships through mentorship, tutoring and other volunteer opportunities.

Medics of Charlie Company, 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team support the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp on Nov. 24. Soldiers of 2IBCT volunteered their time teaching students and cadets of Nanakuli and Waianae High School JROTC various water skills. 2IBCT has a partnership with local communities in and around the Waianae Coast that help create lasting relationships for generations to come. (Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Jordan Linder)

Nanakuli partnership
The 225th BSB is partnered with Nanakuli High School and Nanakuli Elementary and was invited by the organizers of RYLA to participate in this year’s event.

During opening remarks to the students, Don Arakaki, vice president, Waianae Coast Rotary Club and event organizer for the RYLA, spoke highly of his experiences with the 225th BSB and 2IBCT in and around the Waianae Coast.

“Our leadership camp is about bonding, learning from teamwork and developing the future of young leaders in the Waianae Coast,” said Arakaki. “Without the support of the 225th Brigade Support Battalion and Tropic Lightning Soldiers, we would struggle to achieve those goals.”

Approximately 70 students from across Oahu participated in RYLA, including cadets from Nanakuli and Waianae high schools. They tackled teambuilding, leadership and problem-solving exercises.
Medics, safeties and volunteers arrived early to help start the event with water activities. Cadets and students began the morning with stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and traditional Hawaiian canoe navigation.

Forming a connection
“Water safety is extremely important when in and around water,” said Sgt. John Nunez, medic, 225th BSB. “Being a volunteer who is trained in, not just combat first aid, but basic first aid, and CPR, allows us to assist our community whenever we can.”

“This is a great opportunity for these students and the Soldiers stationed here on Oahu,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Trump, a volunteer and 2IBCT plans noncommissioned officer. “Volunteering to help teach proper kayaking and paddleboarding techniques gives a good image that Tropic Lightning Soldiers care about their local communities. By showing our support, local communities will grow closer with those stationed here and friendships will be built.”
Trump, who showed up with a single-man kayak, instructed students and cadets all morning as he paddled with them around Pokai Bay by the Army recreation center.

“In the end, it’s all about just having some fun,” explained Trump. “It’s great to be able to pass on a skill like kayaking – and being on Oahu means plenty of opportunities to do it.”

Bonding with local high schoolers gave some volunteers memories of the past. For one volunteer, he was able to interact with the students of the high school he graduated from.

Sgt. Maj. Bobby Holt, operations sergeant major for 2IBCT, volunteered his time at the event over the weekend as well. Holt is an alumni of Nanakuli High School and enjoyed interacting with the students and cadets.

“Volunteering, to me, means passing on a skill to another generation. If kids these days don’t get out and learn to paddleboard or paddle a traditional Hawaiian canoe, then these skills are lost through time,” explained Holt. “I enjoy teaching the skills I’ve learned throughout my life, and in doing so, seeing the youth here grow to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

2IBCT’s community engagements and volunteer events create a shared interest between Soldiers and their local communities in which they serve.

“It’s always great to … represent my battalion and the Army in community events like RYLA,” said Sgt. John Nunez, medic, 225th BSB. “It’s rewarding knowing we set great examples for the Army in the local communities and, most importantly, that we show the community that we are not just Soldiers, but people who can share common interests.”

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Education

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