JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
When the Randolph Youth Chapel asked the 902nd Security Forces Squadron for a canine demonstration, they were surprised by the response.
The first ever Junior Battle of the Badges was born Aug. 2 at Heritage Park at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
“All we wanted was a little something for the kids during summer and Staff Sgt. (Christopher) Phillips went above and beyond,” said Terese Gould, youth director at the Randolph chapel. “It turned into a great big battle of the badges. He took it and ran with it.”
The Youth Chapel recruited the participants and the 902nd SFS planned the activities.
“We wanted to show them a little bit of what we do and how we work together as a team,” said Phillips. “It was also an opportunity for mentorship and the kids to have fun, relax and compete.”
The competition included nerf gun shooting, relay racing and vehicle pulling and pushing. They also watched a canine demonstration.
“Ms. Gould sent out an email and I was like, oh yeah, I am going to do this,” said Maryn Campbell, 15. “A battle between cops and firefighters, in hot summer and there was water involved, I was so excited.”
Thirty 12 -15 year-old Air Force family members split into firefighter or security forces teams.
“Our chapel youth program tries to get them to build relationships,” Gould said. “Not just sitting down during bible study, they need to see each other as support systems when they are playing as well as when they need real help, so that’s why we do stuff like this.”
The firefighters and security forces mentored their respective teams during the event.
“We should have more of these competitions,” said Starlette Clarno, 15. “It was lots of teamwork and learning to grow as a person, while adapting to work with new people.”
Afterwards, tired and excited, the kids gathered in the shade and ate snacks while awaiting the announcement of the winner.
“The event was well organized,” Campbell said with a large bright smile. “It was amazing, both the security forces and firefighters were friendly, down-to-earth and so funny.”
Security forces claimed the trophy with 259 points, while the firefighters had 207 points.
“All the kids wanted to know is when we are doing it again,” Gould said. “I feel like next year is just going to be bigger and better.”