I don't compete in gear and most people on this forum don't either, but I hear of some equipped lifters doing lots of geared work all year (Blaine Sumner) and others who might only use it the last few weeks before a meet. Logically, it would make sense to include some geared work, maybe once a month or so at the minimum, just for the technique practice.
I would still keep the competition lifts in there, but they don't need to be the main focus. Since you are training kids it would probably be a good idea to do lots of higher rep work for hypertrophy. Also, since you guys are competing in gear you could use bands, chains, knee wraps, slingshot, board presses, etc. to work the top end while still building raw strength.