DEDEDO, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) participated in a community relations (COMREL) event with Island Girl Power in Dededo, Guam, April 29.
The five Sailors toured the Island Girl Power compound and learned about the mission of the program before helping restore a local park that has been neglected for more than 50 years by cutting, cleaning and clearing out areas of the forest where the park once thrived.
The COMREL gave the Sailors an opportunity to demonstrate the Navy's ability to support local communities while also learning about their culture.
"I think this shows the versatility of the Navy's Sailors and our willingness and ability to help local communities," said Machinery Repairman 1st Class Mario Smith. "Not only can we volunteer our time and energy, we can learn from the communities and cultures around us on Guam."
Juanita Blaz, the Island Girl Power program director, explained the goal for the 10-acre forest is to create a place where students and members of the community can reconnect with nature and learn about the indigenous plant life on the island and the many uses for them.
Blaz also articulated the significance of building a relationship with the military in Guam and creating a family atmosphere in the community.
"It's important that we have a military partner that is more constant than just a port visit," said Blaz. "We want to establish friendships with the crew and provide a venue for the service members to share their talents and interests with the community. For the service members who have family members in Guam, I want them to know that our programs are our open to their families as well."
Restoring the nature park in Dededo is one of the many projects Island Girl Power supports. Island Girl Power is a prevention program of The Ayuda Foundation. Their mission is to decrease the occurrence of teenage pregnancy, suicide, substance and sexual abuse, empowering young ladies to make healthy lifestyle choices, encouraging positive self-esteem with mentors and role models, and inspiring cultural and community pride.
Island Girl Power is supported locally by Guam Department of Public Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse, Rotaract Club of the Marianas, Victim Advocates Reaching Out, Guam Office of Minority Health, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Guam, Simon Sanchez ProStart, Payless Foundation, Andersen Officers' Spouses' Club, Soroptimist International of the Marianas, Soroptimist International of Guam, University of Guam (UOG) Soroptimist Sigma Society, UOG Internship, and Guam Community College's Service Learning Programs.
Guam is home to the U.S. Navy's only submarine tenders, USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) and USS Frank Cable (AS 40), as well as four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The submarine tenders provide maintenance, hotel services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.
For more information about USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), visit http://www.csp.navy.mil/emorysland/ or like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/EmorySLand, or on Twitter @EmorySLand.
For more news from USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/as39/.
Are you interested in taking orders to Guam? Want to learn more about the duty station and life on our island? For more information, check out the 'Go Guam!' website at http://www.csp.navy.mil/go-guam/ and download the '1st Fifteen' checklist.
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For more news from USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), visit www.navy.mil/local/as39/.