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Yokota Air Base’s 374th Services Division is extending a special offer to Yokota teenagers: Get accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy’s annual Teen Aviation Camp, and the agency will pay for your round-trip airfare from Tokyo to Colorado Springs, Colo.

David Allen, 374th Services Division director, said the offer is intended to encourage all kids with an interest to apply for the June 5-11 program.

Allen said the cost of round-trip transportation to the academy and back was originally responsible for low interest in the program. So, Yokota’s 374th Services offered to chip in airfare for any Yokota youth selected.

Allen estimates transportation will cost between $1,000 to $1,200 per person. In addition, the Air Force picks up camp costs. “I think that this is a cheap investment in a kid’s future, particularly if they’re interested in attending the academy or pursuing the Air Force” as a career, Allen said.

Application submission deadline for Yokota teens is Feb. 13 at the Teen Center. Applications are available at the center and the high school. The camp is open to Teen Center members who will be high school sophomores or juniors in the 2004-05 school year.

As of last week, 15 kids had applied, said Teen Center Manager William Beasley.

Yokota’s youth director will interview each applicant, and nominations will be forwarded to Pacific Air Forces for further consideration, officials said.

Air Force Services Agency hosts the camp and selects at least one teenager from every major Air Force command.

Campers room in dormitories, participate in ropes and orienteering courses, study the principals of flight, meet academy professors, and tour the Aerodynamics Lab, among other activities.

The camp, say organizers, gives teenagers an idea of what it’s like to be an Air Force Academy cadet. Lodging, meals and activities are free to all participants. Teens must be able to travel alone. Campers will be met at the Colorado Springs airport; chaperones will be provided for camp participants.

For more information, contact William Beasley at the Teen Center at DSN 225-6793.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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