USS Cowpens Sailors Mentor Yokosuka Middle School Students
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors stationed aboard the Ticonderoga-class, guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) volunteered their time with sixth graders at Yokosuka Middle School June 4 in Yokosuka, Japan.
The Sailors and students played numerous games and enjoyed a barbecue at the base's seawall picnic area.
The activities are part of an existing relationship between the middle school and various commands that sponsor students, said Religious Programs Specialist 3rd Class Keeshaun Coffey.
"This gives our Sailors a chance to interact with the youth of Yokosuka and show them how Sailors work on the ship. We're giving back to the youth here," said Coffey. "Team Cowpens sponsors one-half of the sixth grade class, which involves a lot of mentorship. We come to the school once a week to eat lunch, and they'll ask us a lot of questions. Most of the time, their families are active duty and this gives them a different perspective."
Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Dixon Rivera, a native of Greenwood, S.C., explained how the day of games and food offered another perspective on the day-to-day lives of a Yokosuka Sailor.
"Mentorship is more than just sitting down talking to the kids at school about what we do professionally. We're here to have a good time," said Rivera. "This gives us another outlet to just kick back and relax, and it helps show we're more than just uniforms; sharing that part of our life is just as important."
Tara Foust, a sixth grade student who participated in the festivities, was appreciative of the fun day and the mentorship of the Sailors.
"It's great to get out of school and have some fun," said Foust. "These guys have been coming out here since the beginning of the school year and it's just a lot of fun."