Art, Updates, and Community Positively Impacts NASWI Youth Center

16 Apr 2019

Article by Fleet & Family Readiness Marketing Specialist, Jenni James

Over the past year, the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Youth Center has transformed its space by adding new flooring, updating five classrooms with new furniture and shelving, repainting the covered outdoor open play area, and implementing new branding of the Navy Child & Youth Program (CYP) Youth Center with a hand-painted mural celebrating all Navy youth and teens.

“We would like these improvements to be a reflection of all changes happening in our program,” said Crystal Allen, NASWI CYP Youth Center Director. “We are modernizing, investing, and highlighting the strengths of our program as a way to inspire the families we serve.”

The improvements to the Youth Center have also formed community relationships as CNATTU and NASWI Seabees volunteered their time to paint the outdoor play area and build new cubbies to replace the dated built-in cubbies.

“We are honored to have commands ready and willing to come to our centers at a moment’s notice and volunteer their time,” said Genia Wessels, NAVY CYP Director. “The recent small acts of volunteerism are really creating a long-lasting, positive impact to our Youth Center programs.”

Out of all the latest improvements, there is one that really makes a statement as soon as parents, youth, and teens enter the Youth Center. It is the hand-painted Youth Center mural, completed by Oak Harbor High School Sophomore, Mikey Fandrich.

Through Oak Harbor Public Schools and Navy CYP partnerships, Fandrich was referred by Oak Harbor High School’s Art Department to tackle the new mural project.  In a matter of weeks, and all freehand, the new Youth Center mural stood on its own.

“I am really happy with how it turned out,” said Fandrich at the recognition ceremony where Child & Youth Programs presented him with an appreciation basket filled of art supplies.

Fandrich was ecstatic when Child & Youth Programs showed his mural transformed into new branding for the Youth Center and how it will be used from this moment on for Summer Camp shirts, flyers, new signage and more.

“We are so excited how this project alone has added so much to our program, “said Wessels.

Fandrich’s passion for art doesn’t stop here. The aspiring artist is booked months out for various mural painting projects throughout the city of Oak Harbor. 

Commands looking to for volunteer projects can call the Youth Director, Crystal Allen, at 360-257-1038.