Kadena teen represents Air Force Teen Council
8/6/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Leadership: It's a crucial characteristic for military commanders, company CEOs, and sports coaches alike. It's a defining quality that can either break a group of people apart or bring them together under one unifying thought or idea. Without leadership, change is unattainable.
Leadership is a characteristic Taylor Carter employs to get the job done. This July, Carter was named one of the 11 members of the Air Force Teen Council, a group of teens from Air Force bases worldwide who were selected to tackle tough issues faced by teenage dependents of Air Force members. Through her leadership, Carter hopes to bring teens from Okinawa and all over the world together to discuss these issues.
Dedication to teen issues is nothing new to Carter. As president of the Kadena Teen Center's Keystone Club, Carter brings teens together for leadership-developing activities such as community service and Teen Center projects.
This dedication also led her to apply for a position on the Air Force Teen Council, which required her to write three essays explaining why she wanted to be a part of the council and listing her extracurricular and school activities including her leadership experiences.
Carter remembers the day that Dion Bass, the director of the Teen Center, informed her that she had been selected to represent all of the Pacific Air Forces on the council.
"I was pretty surprised [that I was selected] because there were so many other people [who applied]," said Carter.
Since then, her term on the council has been a whirlwind of activity. She attended a Joint Teen Council Summit in San Antonio, Texas where the Air Force Teen Council met with teen representatives from other branches of the military. There, around 40 teens discussed the issues that they and their peers face, and they decided that their first call to action was Project Megaphone.
"It's more of an advertisement," Carter said describing Project Megaphone. Carter and other Air Force Teen Council members want Project Megaphone to help get more teens involved in their schools, teen centers, and help establish more employment opportunities, as well.
Carter noted that issues such as drugs at school and lack of employment opportunities, especially after the discontinuation of the Air Force's summer hire program, are key points of discussion for teens at Kadena.
She said Kadena's Teen Center, however, is doing well in providing a positive environment where kids can be together and engage in activities such as summer camps and fitness programs.
As for her own personal council project, Carter hopes to focus on bringing teens from all of the military branches of service here on Okinawa together to create the Kadena Community Teen Forum. This new endeavor will allow teens to discuss issues that affect not only the Air Force, but other branches of the military as well. It will also encourage them to brainstorm for solutions.
For anyone out there--youth, teens and adults alike--who might be struggling with issues and challenges of their own, Carter gives these words of wisdom: "Give it what you've got, and go for your biggest dream."