Keystone Club First at a Navy Teen Center to Reach Legacy Status

By: Rachel Autenreith
MWR Marketing
Published in The Bahrain Desert Times on 23 November, 2016

Most teenagers do not spend their free time volunteering, planning and attending leadership conferences, and hosting events for character development. Members of the NSA Bahrain’s Keystone Club; however, spend countless hours focusing on academic success, career preparation, and community service. The Keystone Club is a teen leadership program associated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Recently, the Keystone Club at NSA Bahrain has made history by achieving Legacy status.

Sean Bowen, the Teen & Youth Fitness Coordinator emphasized that no other Navy Base in the world has had a Legacy level Keystone Club. To achieve Legacy status, a club must first reach Gold 2 consecutive years.

“There are 4 levels of chartering: basic, silver, gold, & legacy,” Bowen said.

“Each level has various projects that the teens must plan and host. What sets legacy apart from other levels is the establishment of standing programs, rather than one-time events.”

The Keystone Club members work with the Teen Center staff to develop recruitment and retention strategies, marketing strategies, and programming for teens. The club members also created a program to help teens transitioning from middle school to high school.  In addition, they plan community service initiatives and volunteer at base-wide special events.

This past year, teens decorated a booth at Nightmare on Spine Street and helped set up at events like the Color Run and Mardi Gras Party. Last year, the teens dressed up as elves and monitored the line for Santa photos at Night of Extraordinary Lights, the annual tree lighting event. The Keystone Club also organized a base clean up where over 50 pounds of garbage was collected at Grippo’s Roundabout in front of the base. 

“Keystone [club] participated in the BGCA National project by hosting a weeklong future readiness event where they researched, planned, and implemented hour long sessions in how to pick a college, career field exploration, healthy eating on a budget, how to keep a balanced budget, and stress management,” Bowen said. “They also got involved with the larger Bahrain community working with Tony the Dog Father and the BSPCA to help shelter animals get adopted.”
            The 8 dedicated members of NSA Bahrain’s Keystone club committed over 500 hours of service in just one year. The only requirement left to acquire Legacy status was to attend a local or regional leadership conference. Unfortunately, this created a major obstacle as the Teen Leadership Conference in Germany was ultimately cancelled.  The teens did not let this stop them. They planned their very own conference. 

“Keystoners decided what leadership topics would be presented, held activities teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and recruited other teens to participate,” Bowen said. “Teens learned about the value of teamwork, acceptance, conflict resolution, and leading from within a team.”
            After all of their hard work, the Keystone Club at NSA Bahrain has grown from just 8 members last year to a total of 18 this year. They look forward to achieving Legacy status again next year as well as growing their scope and base involvement. Over the next year, this club will strive to build bigger and better projects and continue to make a strong impact on their fellow teens, NSA Bahrain, and the community of our host nation.