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MCLB-Albany hosts Pursuit Youth Expo

A group of area teenagers gathered aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany this week as part of the Pursuit Youth Expo, which is being conducted in an effort to teach teenagers various life skills. The expo is expected to wrap up Tuesday.

A group of area teenagers gathered aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany this week as part of the Pursuit Youth Expo, which is being conducted in an effort to teach teenagers various life skills. The expo is expected to wrap up Tuesday.

MCLB-ALBANY -- As a means to teach teenagers various life skills, Marine Corps Family Team Building and the Volunteer and Career Development Program aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany has been hosting its first Pursuit Youth Expo on the installation.

Connecting youth to work, volunteer and intern opportunities, the Pursuit Youth Expo is meant to be a youth-centered, three-day workshop series for teenaged-children of active duty, reserve, retired or veteran servicemembers with base access to encourage exploration, promote self-discovery and inspire action, MCLB-Albany officials say.

"It's to get students to start thinking about what they want to do in life," said Nicole Onuska, placement coordinator for the Volunteer and Career Development Program.

The expo started Thursday and continued into Friday. It is expected to pick back up for its final day on Tuesday. The slogan chosen for the event is "your goals, your life, your future."

The workshops that took place this week featured professional leaders hosting interactive discussions, encouraging students to share their insights, inspiring youth to make a difference and emphasizing service as an important factor for growth in life, officials at the base say.

Some of the activities from this week included building a purpose statement, maintaining a cards and pledge wall and developing network and interview skills.

Much of the conference revolved around how volunteerism could be used by high school students to transition into the adult world.

"It is the easiest thing to get involved in a high school student," Onuska said. "At their level, they can't go to work, and there is practical skill-building that comes from volunteerism.

"I think it is important for them to start thinking about what their goals are now. We expect 18-year-olds to be adults, but you see college drop-outs (and find that) they don't have the skills to transition out."

Brandon Sibley, a rising sophomore at Westover High School, was among those participating. Having already had some experience volunteering at the Albany Civil Rights Institute, said he may potentially pursue a criminology track in college.

"It (the expo) helps you to follow your dreams and stay on track," he said. "I've learned what I want to do in life."

On Tuesday, officials say attendees are expected to participate in a Volunteer and Career Development Expo featuring non-profit organizations, employers and colleges. There, students will be expected to apply the skills they learned over the previous two days and explore volunteer, employment and education opportunities, coordinators of the expo say.