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Operation Military Kids
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OMK Adobe Youth Voices Program

As part of the 2010 4-H University Clover College on the LSU campus, 4-H’ers had the opportunity to participate in a new educational track called “Lights, Camera, Action! -- Speak Out for Military Kids.”

The session emphasized difficulties military youth and their families face.

Educators also, for the first time ever at Clover College, taught video-making skills that youth used to create public service announcements encouraging support for military families throughout Louisiana.

“I think sessions like this help get the word out about the struggles that military kids go through,” said Adrianna Iennusa, an eighth-grader from Rapides Parish, whose father is in the military. “The videos that we produced can help get the message out too.”

Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK) is a project of the U.S. Army’s Operation: Military Kids (OMK) program. SOMK is an effort designed to help military and non-military youth generate community awareness of issues faced by military youth when a parent is in the deployment cycle.

National 4-H is a co-sponsor of the programs, and Louisiana 4-H, a partnering grantee, is heavily involved in implementing OMK and SOMK throughout the state.

“Our state has one of the largest numbers of soldiers deployed each year. So it’s not surprising we also have large numbers of family members effected by those deployments,” said Kathleen Schexnayder, coordinator of the Louisiana Operation Military Kids program in the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development Department.

“Speak out for Military Kids is very active in Louisiana. But we have so many more families to reach. Educational sessions like this one can go a long way in garnering support for families who need it most,” she added.

The end goal of the Clover College session was for youth to take what they had learned about military families and produce videos promoting support for those families.

Educators walked six teams through the video production process. Participants learned how to organize production ideas, develop and write working scripts, and shoot video for their segments.

Finally, they used Adobe Premiere Elements software to edit their video pieces into an end product. Adobe provided the software through an educational grant program called “Adobe Youth Voices.”

“I had fun, and this class helped me learn how to create a successful video,” commented Iennusa.

Some of the video samples will be posted on You Tube and on the LSU AgCenter website.

Six of the 26 youth who participated in the session currently have parents or close family members in the military.

“I think kids from non-military families in the group knew that we were military kids, but this program brought it more into focus,” said Eileen Eichenauer, a sophomore whose mother is serving in the military.

“What I really liked about the track, too, was that kids didn’t treat you different because you’re a military kid,” she added.

By creating an awareness of the issues and by using modern video technology to promote that awareness, the “Lights, Action, Camera -- Speak Out for Military Kids” track offered 4-H’ers a chance to make a difference in the lives of military families.

The following quotes from youth evaluations aptly summed up the effectiveness of the session:

“It has helped me understand how military kids feel,” said one participant.

“I had fun and learned a lot about videotaping,” added another 4-H’er.

If you want to help military families, contact your parish 4-H agent or Leslie Moran at the 4-H State Office.

Contact: Leslie Moran at 225-578-2196 Writer: Randy LaBauve at 225-578-0794

Through a partnership with Adobe, Louisiana 4-H hosts the Adobe Youth Voices program at 4-H University and LOST Camp. The Adobe Youth Voices program aims to empower youth in underserved communities around the globe with real-world experiences and tools to communicate their ideas, exhibit their potential, and take action in their communities.


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Last Updated: 9/13/2011 5:39:03 AM

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