SACRAMENTO, Calif. (NNS) -- Around 50 Sailors from across the nation, including an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the "Scorpions" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49, descended on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento in support of the Sacramento Navy Week, July 18.
"The thing about coming to the Boys & Girls Club, it's the same as going into a squadron, because you are talking about the same things," said Rear Adm. Scott Jones, Deputy Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic. "You are talking about taking young people who have enormous futures, and you're talking about instilling in them some of our Navy core values: honor, courage, and commitment. It's not what a goal is, it's what a goal does. Having someone help you on that goal like these volunteers help the Boys & Girls Club, they are exactly the same as chiefs, department heads, commanding officers and executive officers in squadrons. There is no difference. The leadership here is living for those children the same way the leadership in Navy is living for the young Sailor."
The members of the club spent the day talking with Sailors about robotics, meteorology, oceanography, history and day-to-day life in the Navy.
"I think any time that we have an opportunity to show our kids that there is a whole world outside of the two square mile neighborhood that they are used to being in is fantastic," said Shannon McPhedran, the senior community engagement manager with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento.
According to the Boys & Girls Club's website, their mission is "to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens."
"We do try to teach our kids character and citizenship, and the Navy embodies that," said McPhedran. "So it is great for them to have all of these role models here today spending time with them, sharing STEM education activities with them, and job opportunities they might not have thought about. I'm pretty sure all of our kids want to be helicopter pilots after seeing the chopper land. It is just a phenomenal opportunity to bring a great resource to our kids."
Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Group One brought bomb disposal robots and bomb suits for the children to interact with. The U.S. Naval Academy spoke with members about opportunities the Navy has for their futures. Sailors from Naval Operational Support Command Sacramento played games with children between educational stations.
Club members were also able to learn about how the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command collects and processes oceanographic and meteorological information and apply it to the Navy.
Sailors from USS Constitution, the oldest warship still afloat, taught children the history of their ship while Sailors from USS La Jolla, a Los Angeles-class submarine, shared what life on a submarine is like.
Additionally, the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard performed for the members before Navy Band Northwest's Funk Band did a lunchtime concert for the children.
"I think the thing that is most wonderful about bringing this here to the club is our kids would never in a million years expect to see a helicopter land on their soccer field," said Kimberly Key, the CEO for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento. "Or to see all of the participants here from the U.S. Navy spending time with them. They will be talking about this day for months and months, and will want to know when everyone is coming back."
"The fact that these people are protecting us and that they are also taking time to connect with our kids who don't have a lot of opportunities outside of their community is extraordinary," said McPhedran. "The Boys & Girls Club is their safe haven. So any time we can bring something extra for them I think is fantastic. I have been looking forward to this for a long time and I am just glad that it is here and everyone is enjoying it."
The Navy Office of Community Outreach uses the Navy Week program to bring Navy Sailors, equipment and displays to approximately 14 American cities each year for a week-long schedule of outreach engagements designed for Americans to experience firsthand how the U.S. Navy is the Navy the nation needs.
Perhaps the best way to sum up the day is in the words of 12-year-old Kylan Lynch, "It was awesome!"
For more information about Sacramento Navy Week, visit http://outreach.navy.mil/Navy-Weeks/Sacramento/
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