[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 11, 2008
Community

CYS Summer Camp offers fun, 
builds scholastic, life skills

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      Youth, grades kindergarten through high school, in the Fort McCoy Child and Youth Services (CYS) Summer Camp program participate in a variety of activities that are not only fun, but also help them retain their scholastic knowledge and develop their life and social skills.

Photo: Youth in the Fort McCoy CYS Summer Camp practice basketball skills under the guidance of Rumpel Fitness Center staff during a clinic at the fitness center. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Youth in the Fort McCoy CYS Summer Camp practice basketball skills under the guidance of Rumpel Fitness Center staff during a clinic at the fitness center. 
(Photo by Rob Schuette)

      They're also kept busy as a recent day saw them go through a whirlwind of activities.

      In the morning, the Summer Camp youth went to the Rumpel Fitness Center to participate in a basketball clinic, said Becky Walley, CYS director. This allowed them to be introduced to the basics of a sport, while learning life and social skills that allowed them to learn from and interact with the instructors and other youth in the program. It also helped improve their motor skills.

      "We help them continue learning and growing during their summer break from school," Walley said.

      Back at the CYS facilities, youth were participating in several activities. On one end of the building, they were using the computer laboratory under the direction of Emma Schmitz of the CYS staff to work on computer skills and to have fun exploring various Web sites. Walley said youth can work on various assignments in the computer lab, as well. This is an important element in the school year after-school program, as well, as youth can participate in a "power hour" to get their homework done, she said.

      At the other end of the building, a group of youth gathered around Jena Christopherson, who was teaching them to count from 10-20 as part of Spanish Club activities.

Photo: Emma Schmitz of the CYS staff helps youth in the Summer Camp program navigate computers in the CYS computer laboratory. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Emma Schmitz of the CYS staff helps youth in the Summer Camp program navigate computers in the CYS computer laboratory. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Christopherson used the visual images of a deck of cards to help the youth associate the Spanish word for a corresponding number with a card from the deck.

      After a break for lunch, the youth participated in activities at the Fort McCoy Pine View Recreation Area or at the Fitness Center pool.

      As they experienced various recreational activities or physical fitness activities, the youth again learned how to get along and interact with other adults and youth.

      "They also learned important safety aspects of being around water and participating in water sports, such as swimming," Walley said.

      The CYS Summer Camp supports the Army Family Covenant, which recognizes that though Soldiers may be the strength of the nation, the strength of the Soldiers is in the strength of their families. The Summer Camp helps youth continue their learning curve during the summer break and reach their full potential. This helps families reach their full potential, as well, Walley said.

      And so goes a typical day in the summer camp. Walley said youth can participate in many additional activities. A small listing includes the tech and art clubs, conflict resolution workshop, nutrition speakers, good touch/bad touch instruction, anger management, sports clubs, a Norskedalen Field Trip and 4-H, Nature, Science, Cooking and Drama Club activities, she said.

Photo: Jena Christopherson of the CYS staff helps youth in the Summer Camp learn how to count in Spanish. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Jena Christopherson of the CYS staff helps youth in the Summer Camp learn how to count in Spanish. 
(Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Parents like the activities because they allow children to experience a wide variety of activities and interact with adults and youth, Walley said.

      Sgt. 1st Class Margaret Diehl of Headquarters of the 426th Regiment at the Wisconsin Military Academy, and a parent with children in the Summer Camp program, said she brought her children to the program to continue to develop their social skills.

      "The activities keep them busy," Diehl said. "The program also provides educational opportunities for them to keep those skills up (until they return to school in the fall)."

      Laurie Hertzfeldt of the Resource Management Office said her children might be sitting around at home if they didn't have the option of attending Summer Camp. The variety of activities helps keep them engaged, she said. Some of the favorites were the tech club and arts and crafts, swimming and the reading opportunities.

      "My daughter started reading a book during the reading class," Hertzfeldt said. "She had to come back the next day to finish it. This will help keep them ready when they go back to school."

 

 

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