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Arizona YIP Youth participants with hands-on experience with a F-16 Falcon

during field trip to Davis Monthan Air Force Base 


Dear Dreamers and Dream Makers,

The Arizona Youth Impact Program is pushing the envelope to the wild blue yonder of imagination, inspiration and dream making with the United States Air Force. Amongst 3,000 aircraft at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in the southern Sonoran desert of Tucson, they saw dreams that flew at all heights, breaking barriers and pushing the envelopes of what can be achieved with dedicated team work.

The University of Arizona Youth Impact Program leads on group dynamics through formation of the youth into squads as they take on their own approach to build a circle of trust to best engage to win with a set of outstanding leaders and mentors from the US Air Force and exceptional student-athletes from the Arizona Wildcat Football team.

On Friday, June 17 the young Wildcats took a field trip to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base which included for the first time a visit to the AMARG for a hands-on tour of world class capabilities and equipment. Exposing the youth to the relevant world of multiple aerospace maintenance careers to include: avionics, electricians, fabrication & machinists, mechanics, engineering and  logistics support. Inspiring all to dream and increasing appreciation for the service, expertise and professionalism represented by the Airmen, Airwomen and civilians in this vast career field of opportunities where the sky is the limit to lead for a lifetime.


Arizona YIP student with access and exposure to aerospace 


Davis Monthan is home to the Desert Lightning Team which is hosted by the Air Combat Command’s 355 Wing and includes the Air Force Material Command’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration (AMARG). Missions observed during the field trip included technology upgrades for F-16 and A-10 weapon systems, security operations and elite Pararescue as strong partners with the Arizona Youth Impact Program.

“This was the most thrilling day ever for most of our campers. Many of them have never seen or experienced the inner workings of our nation’s military bases, and today they were able to get a glimpse. Days like today will cause these young men to look at the Airmen who they interact with a bit more awe and respect.” stated Dr. Lisa Delgado, YIP Academic Director. The win was for all who participated to include those learning as well as the subject matter experts conveying their knowledge and passion for aviation and the tremendous satisfaction received in knowing their efforts make a difference to our nation’s security and defense.


Youth loading and off-loading on C-130 Hercules


Arizona YIP youth conducting aerospace career exploration


The transformational leadership development aspect of the field trip conducted in a professional working environment brought to life the relevancy of teamwork, application of education, respect for authority, and being bigger than themselves for the betterment of the squad, the wing, the force, and the Nation. Prior to leading a run with the young Wildcats, 309 AMARG Commander, Colonel Aurelio addressed all participants on the importance and success achieved being guided by Air Force Core Values – Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.


Unforgettable experience captured in front of C-5 on Field Day at Davis Monthan 


Aim High! Fly-Fight-Win!

Pushing the envelope to Live the Dream and be the Dream!

Riki Ellison

Founder and Chairman 

Youth Impact Program

515 King Street, Suite 330

Alexandria, VA 22314