MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Boys and Girls Clubs of America sponsored a competition for 10 of the top clubs around the world to receive a $2,800 Energy Star Service grant in April.
The children of the Youth and Teen Center here sent in an application to participate in the competition and were chosen as one of the 10 clubs to participate.
Charles R. Hill, station environmental protection specialist and guest speaker, spoke to the children at the Youth and Teen Center June 21.
“The kids need to be a part of what is going on just as much as anyone else,” said Hill. “By participating in the grant, they are showing that they are responsible and they also have interest in the environment.”
Hill taught the children about the basics in conserving energy, water and covered the rules to recycling properly.
“It is important for youth and teens to be involved in what is going on with the environment,” said Hill.
“They can keep the adults reminded of the right thing to do. The decisions they make today will affect the environment for the future,” he added.
Youth and Teen Center personnel invited Hill to speak to the children in order to help them become more environmentally aware.
“We are working with the base on this because part of the grant is that we have to teach the kids how to save energy,” said Tera K. Scott, Youth and Teen Center program assistant.
The Youth and Teen Center plans to pass out school equipment and supplies to the children with the money earned from the grant.
“(The grant) gives us funds to help support the base for educational purposes,” said Scott.
The center also chose to participate in this grant to help the Japanese with their goal of reducing energy consumption.
“The Japanese government would like all military installations to reduce its energy by five percent,” said Scott.
Many of the children thought the information they received from Hill was important because it made them more environmentally aware and allowed them to be more involved with the community.
Nanndy R. Hernandez, a Matthew C. Perry rising 10th-grader, frequently visits the Youth and Teen Center and came to hear Hill speak.
“I feel like us getting the grant is a good thing,” said Hernandez.
“It has made a lot of the kids who come here more aware of the importance conserving and recycling have,” said Hernandez.
“It is important because if one person is doing it, others will want to,” he added.
Although some of the children were already familiar with recycling because they live out in town, others, such as the ones who live on base, learned the importance of recycling as well as conserving both energy and water.
Hernandez said he was going to use the information he learned and help others to become environmentally aware.
While the Enegry Star Service grant is a fairly new concept, started on Earth Day 2009, youth and teens aboard the station jumped at the opportunity to save their surroundings.
As the children continue to do the proposed projects for the $2,800 grant, they practice environmental awareness daily and continue to improve environmental protection aboard the air station.
The activities for the grant began April 22 and are scheduled to last until Feb. 15, 2012.