Youth Springing Into Skill Building - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Youth Springing Into Skill Building

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Marianna, FL -

This is no ordinary jump into Blue Springs in Marianna. It's the jump start of another challenge, serving to teach teamwork and build leadership.

"I couldn't really see underwater, so I couldn't see the ring, but my team helped me out, "said Olivia Conlon.

Conlon is one of 36 teenagers from across the nation who applied and was accepted to participate in the Teen High Adventure Camp, also known as Trails.

"Trails stands for Training Resilient Adolescent Adults in Leadership Skills," said Del Mucci, co-creator of the program, which aims to teach a variety of skills.

"From life skills to outdoor skills and challenge them to learn and grow," said Mucci.

It also helps teens face the challenges they may deal with being a dependent kid.

"Our active duty volunteer to serve. Their spouses have volunteered to be a spouse, said Mucci. "But the kids are non volunteers."

All 36 teenagers have one or both parents active in the military.

"It's a time to hang out with other people in the same situation," said Adam Scott. "Hang with people that are more like us and know what we're going through right now."

Following a military-like structure, the adolescents complete challenges or missions as they spend a dozen days outside in the wilderness.

"The first thing that we do is what we call a shakedown," said Mucci. "And get rid of all electronic devices. They have to be in the moment."

Wednesday is day three, with a final destination somewhere on the Suwannee River.

"No cell phones for this long it's crazy," said Hana Bilicki. "It's so worth it, it's so much fun."

They ate Meals Ready to Eat or MRE's for lunch on Wednesday. However, in order to eat it, they had to find it first.

The group took to kayaks and using a GPS, followed coordinates they were given in search for their lunch.

It's a learning experience launching a fun and memorable summer.

The program has been around for 10 years now, with multiple agencies using it, which include the Air force, 4-H Youth Development, and the National Military Family Association.