USS Emory S. Land Joins Youths from Local Organization ‘Boys Town’

Sailors assigned to submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) joined youths from local organization ‘Boys Town’ on the fields of Sembawang Naval Base, Singapore during a Community Service project (COMSERV) to participate in a variety of sports activities, December 05.

The event kicked off with brief introductions on the naval base’s soccer field before Sailors and youths mixed and formed teams to play the sport with little time wasted.

“The kids love soccer, it raises their motivation and their spirit,” said Mr. Pannir Selvam, a Program Supervisor from the youth organization. “The kids could use some fun, given the chance to speak with Sailors from another country helps test their confidence and builds self-esteem”.

As the game of soccer progressed, the impact made by service members while playing familiar sports with the youths and engaging in friendly banter was apparent to those involved.

“The more they interact, they let down their guard and open up, these kids have been through some tough times,” said Lt.Cmdr. Paul Kim, a chaplain attached to Commander Task Force 73. “Initially, many of the children were quiet, but now they seem to have caught on to the positive examples we’ve set and are playing well with the Sailors”.

After the soccer game concluded, Sailors held a variety of competitions ranging from court events such as basketball and tennis to beach sports such as volleyball and swimming.

The competitions proved to be a morale booster not only for the youths, but for the Sailors as well, and for some service members a chance to connect with memories of home.

“I’m the oldest of my brothers in my family and now that its around the holidays it’s great to be around kids,” said Seaman Tyler Lewis, assigned to Land. “At home the kids gravitate towards me, so just being out here and playing basketball with these kids reminds me of home a bit”.

The ‘Boys Town’ organization provides treatment and care for troubled youths.

“Some of the children come from broken homes, or have been in trouble with the law,” said Selvam. “The friendly atmosphere of today’s activities helps set the right tone for these young men”.

After the events concluded, the participants were treated to lunch at the base club while Sailors explained their daily activities and what life consists of onboard a ship.

“The kids are excited when I tell them what we do onboard the ship,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class David Hall. “After explaining what Boatswain’s Mates do in the Navy, about the bridge watches, boat and crane ops, their eyes lit up, and they want to see it firsthand”.

Land, homeported in Diego Garcia, is a forward deployed expeditionary submarine tender on an extended deployment conducting coordinated tending moorings and afloat maintenance in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Naval Today Staff, December 10, 2012

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