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Youth Gain Leadership Experience at Westover

westover kidsCHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) — There were a lot future leaders packed into the hangar at Westover Air Reserve base in Chicopee Wednesday morning.

More than 200 middle school and high school students from Springfield and Chicopee took part in team-building activities and explored the ins and outs of the base as part of their annual Youth Outreach event.

“They will have a bunch of opportunities to see different career fields, just people talking about what they’re passionate about,” says Senior Master Sgt. Shane Robitaille. “They’ll also have opportunities for leadership, collaboration and team work.”

For one graduating senior from Putnam High School, it also offered a small glimpse of life as a reservist.

“My dream is to join the Marine Corps. Reserves and go to college for education and business management, says Oscar Mena DeLeon.”

Today, Oscar had plenty of inspiration.

By balancing the responsibilities of work, family, and the military, members of the Westover Air Force Reserve are constantly leading by example.

“We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 Air Force Reservists who all have civilian jobs, so everyone who comes onto this base as an Air Force Reservist is a leader in their own right,” says Senior Master Sgt. Robitaille.

“Being a leader means motivating those around me to all work for a common goal,” adds Mena DeLeon.

High school students from Chicopee, Central, Putnam and the Springfield High School of Science and Technology participated in today’s event, as well as students from Springfield’s STEM Middle Academy.

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