ROSECRANS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mo. --
Being a child of military members can lead to many experiences, both challenging and rewarding. Those experiences go beyond just enduring long deployments, but they also reach the levels of inspiration from seeing the example of hard work and devotion to a cause greater than themselves. They learn to be proud of their country and the men and women who serve and they learn to be leaders in their communities.
As a way to focus on issues faced by teens from Guard families, the National Guard Teen Panel provides a way for teenagers to voice those concerns to Guard senior leaders for resolution.
Trinity Brown, the daughter of Bruce and Ashley Jenkins, both members of the 139th Airlift Wing, was chosen to represent the 139th Airmen & Family Readiness Office as a representative of the state of Missouri in NGB Teen Panel.
State Teen Panel members act as the voice of all National Guard teens and youth throughout the state. They assist with choosing and planning a variety of opportunities that are offered to other military youth.
This is Brown’s first year in this role and she is tackling it with humble enthusiasm.
“I am truly honored to be a part of such a magnificent, esteemed, and respectable group of teenagers,” Brown said. “I truly feel like I am the voice for other military kids to voice our wants, needs, and opinions.”
Brown, who just finished her 8th grade in school, takes part in monthly conference call meetings with the NGB Child & Youth Director while also working with other state and regional Guard teen panel members.
During these meetings she discusses issues that range from recreation programs available to Guard youth to concerns and challenges they may face while a parent or guardian is deployed.
Those interested in becoming part of the Guard Teen Panel first must be active in larger community activities and programs as well as maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average. From there, prospective members submit a packet including an essay portion focusing on how they have worked to find resolution to a problem or issue in the past.
Although being part of the teen panel helps her make lasting changes in the lives of military kids in Missouri, it also gives her the opportunity to learn and grow herself.
“I am hoping to improve my communication and social skills while also taking on the responsibility of a leadership role,” Brown said. “I am grateful for these lessons that I know I will use later on in my life.”