BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors attached to Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Los Angeles concluded a two-day outreach effort July 8-9 in Bakersfield, Calif.
The training offered community members an opportunity to meet with Sailors and increase awareness of the United States Navy.
NRD LA recruiters were joined by Bakersfield future Sailors and students from the West High Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) unit during a "Caps for Kids" outreach at Memorial Hospital's pediatric ward July 8. The Caps for Kids program is an outreach program where Sailors donate Navy ball caps to sick or injured children.
"It was really touching to see the smiles on the kids' faces," said Navy Counselor 1st Class Frank Flores.
The Caps for Kids team later toured the Ronald McDonald House, located on the hospital grounds, and left gifts for family members who will stay at the four-room facility. One of the newest and smallest facilities in the organization, the four-room house offers families a home away from home for their children while receiving treatment at the hospital.
"We really appreciate the Navy for spending time here and getting to see our facilities," said Scarlett Sabin, house manager. "We're always looking for ways to make this house a home away from home and volunteers like you help us do just that."
Next stop was an afternoon at the Niles St. Boys and Girls Club. Recruiters and NJROTC cadets played volleyball and basketball with teens in the club's summer program. After several hard-fought games, the club's "Dream Team" went undefeated, winning four games to zero.
"It was nice having the Navy guys here," said 14-year old Jordin Hernandez. "They really gave us some good competition, and it was a lot of fun beating them at volleyball."
Retired Chief Ricardo Ybarra, West High NJROTC's commanding officer, said the chance to reach out to the community is a foundation of the unit's success.
"We are always looking for chances to give back to our community, and when we heard about what the recruiters were doing here, we wanted to be a part of it," said Ybarra.
Before leaving, the Bakersfield area, recruiters spoke to the teens about peer pressure and making good choices.
"The kids were really excited about this [visit]. They loved that the recruiters came there to play and hang out with them today," said Chris Molina, programs director.
More then 40 children attended the Library's Story Time where Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class Joseph Valdez and Fire Control Technician 2nd Class Raymond Cowell read books and performed the Hokey Pokey, entertaining both children and their parents.
Cathy Hansen, Bakersfield Navy League president, brought together local and state representatives to honor Bakersfield recruiters at Victor Victoria's Restaurant July 9.
Cmdr. Chris Collins, NRD LA's commanding officer, gave the group an update on the status of the Navy and what the Bakersfield area means to Navy recruiting.
"We're so proud of the job our recruiters are doing here, I wish we could have Bakersfield Navy Days everyday," said Hansen.
Bakersfield Navy Days was capped off by "Navy Night" with the Bakersfield Blaze baseball team. The Blaze, the single "A" affiliate of the Texas Rangers, was the scene where 46 future Sailors were administered the oath of enlistment on the field in front of their family and friends. The Naval Station Lemoore color guard was on hand while Navy Counselor 1st Class Tina Simmons sang the national anthem.
"We couldn't be more honored to serve as the swear-in host for so many brave men and women making the commitment to serve our country," said Justin Kozubal, Blaze general manager.
For more news from Navy Recruiting District Los Angeles, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrd-la/.