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New equipment means new opportunities for youth

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Michael, a youth at the R.P. Lee Youth Center, tests new digital imaging equipment. The youth center recently received new digital imaging equipment and computers, giving youth the opportunity to improve their digital media skills. All Air Force youth centers received similar equipment so when youth move with their families they will have familiar equipment to use wherever they go. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Michael, a youth at the R.P. Lee Youth Center, tests new digital imaging equipment. The youth center recently received new digital imaging equipment and computers, giving youth the opportunity to improve their digital media skills. All Air Force youth centers received similar equipment so when youth move with their families they will have familiar equipment to use wherever they go. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Thanks to a gift from the Air Force of photography and computer equipment, youth at the R.P. Lee Youth Center can take advantage of more learning opportunities in the area of mass media.

The center received two GoPro cameras, three Apple desk top computers and two Canon digital single lens reflex cameras from the Air Force as part of a request that started about two years ago. Arriving over the last six weeks, the additions increased center inventory to five GoPros, five Macs, three DSLR cameras and six point and shoot digital cameras.

Ali Seligman, assistant youth center director, said the center has a number of programs through affiliations with groups like the Boys & Girls Club and 4-H requiring the use of photography, video and digital imagery. The addition of the new equipment helps better meet those needs.

"It helps us create youth of tomorrow in a digital world," Seligman said. "We are preparing our youth for their futures, not only supporting them but offering programs that are educational and growing them in technical areas. That's the way the world's going."

All Air Force youth centers received equipment. Larger centers received more, smaller centers less but all got something Seligman said. With all Air Force youth centers getting the same type of equipment, youth will not miss a beat when transferring to a new location with family.

"It's good for the military because if they move the equipment is there. The same cameras, the same video equipment, computers and software," she said. "We continue to help with the transition we know they are going to make. The only difference is the counselors."

Kyle Hanchett, youth specialist, is the digital expert at the center. Seligman said it is his expertise along with the additional equipment that enables Team Pete youth to take their skills to the next level. In fact, participation has doubled in related programs.

"We've come a long way," Hanchett said. "Once we were able to get the other stuff - the iMacs and DSLR cameras - we expanded the club. They went from learning raw basics to more in-depth material. They went from a hobby level to more in-depth (experience)."

With more equipment available to capture and process digital projects, Hanchett said kids don't lose interest waiting their turn to use equipment and workstations.

"The best part about running (the programs) is seeing kids get excited about seeing themselves in a way they have not, whether cinematically or hearing the sound of their voice," he said.

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