MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Students from The Bahrain School shadowed military and civilian personnel during Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain's annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day, Feb. 1.
NSA Bahrain Executive Officer, Cmdr. Phillip Henry, the event coordinator, explained that every year, volunteers from area businesses and organizations show students from The Bahrain School, a Department of Defense (DOD) Dependent School, the kinds of opportunities available to them in a professional environment.
NSA Bahrain medical, disbursing and food services departments; the command master chief; executive officer; Morale, Welfare and Recreation offices; and Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), all volunteered for the event.
Fareed Badr, one of 10 eighth-grade participants, said he not only learned about various jobs around the base, but also made some new friends. He said he had the opportunity to see the emergency response team in action and tour NSA Bahrain, which he described as a "mini-town in a big city."
"It was very enriching, full of information and new people," said Badr, from Cairo, Egypt. "I was impressed by the efficiency of how people react on-base. There are a lot of excellent people here who really know their jobs, know what they're doing and why they're here."
Trent Braggs, a NFCU employee, mentored a student who wanted to be in the banking industry.
"This is a fun industry to be in if you have the initiative and motivation to be a part of it," said Braggs. "I'm always for someone coming into an industry that I'm a part of. So I wanted to pretty much widen his scope, answer any questions or concerns that he may have about the industry, and hopefully get him interested."
"I think it's important for the students, as individuals, to be around us adults," said Henry. "My dad was in the Navy, and occasionally he would take me to work with him. It made a big impression on me. But it's also vital for us as a base to reach out to the host nation, to aid understanding between us and a strong ally like Bahrain, and the many countries represented by the children going to the DoD
Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Kaleena Thomas said she had been looking forward to the event ever since she heard about it.
"I love doing this. I had two students, and I haven't smiled so much in God knows how long," Thomas said. "They can come back every single year."
Groundhog Job Shadow Day started in 1996 by America's Promise, an organization headed at the time by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Secretary of Defense William Cohen endorsed the project in 1999, and the Navy set its sights on reaching more than 700,000 youth by the year 2000. Since then, the initiative has expanded to bases worldwide, including naval facilities in Guam, Iceland and Bahrain.
Henry said he hoped to expand the program next year to include 9th and 10th grade students.
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