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November 11, 2011


Child, Youth & School Services observes CHARACTER COUNTS!, Red Ribbon weeks

Youth in the Fort McCoy Child, Youth and School (CYS) Services program learned about being good citizens and making good life choices by participating in activities celebrating CHARACTER COUNTS! and Red Ribbon weeks in October.

Cori Yahnke, CYS Services Youth Center and Boys & Girls Club director, said school-age youth observed both weeks with activities that included wearing special colors for each pillar of character and fun dress up days for Red Ribbon Week.
PHOTO: School-age youth pose with the Red Ribbon Week banner. Photo by Child, Youth and School Services staff)
School-age youth pose with the Red Ribbon Week banner “Drugosuarus (Drug Prevention — Don’t Go Extinct).” (Photo by Child, Youth and School Services staff)

CHARACTER COUNTS! week was celebrated with activities from Oct. 17-21.

“The intent of CHARACTER COUNTS! week was to learn the six pillars of character and celebrate making good choices in all aspects of life,” Yahnke said. “Every day we focused on one or two pillars and did an activity to demonstrate that trait.”

Each pillar of character has its own color. Youth wore clothing in colors to match the pillar of each day.

Caring is shown by the color red symbolizing the hearts.

To learn about caring, youth left messages for friends on paper hearts. Families were involved as well by inviting parents to leave messages on their youth’s hearts, too.

Respect is given the color yellow which stands for the golden rule.

Youth discussed the golden rule and how it relates to them.

Trust is depicted by the color blue as in the phrase “true blue.” On trustworthy day, youth led each other blindfolded through an obstacle course.

Responsibility is symbolized by the color green which relates to responsibility for money and for helping the environment. Citizenship is designated by the color purple, which relates to the Purple Heart award.

These two pillars were combined and the youth went on a volunteer walk around the neighborhood to help clean the environment, Yahnke said.

Fairness is depicted by the color orange, which represents splitting an orange into equal parts to share.

On fairness day, the youth participated in a program-wide kickball game to practice good sportsmanship.

In the same spirit, youth also did a number of activities to celebrate Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 23-31), which celebrated being responsible by being drug-free, Yahnke said.

Dress-up days included “Team Up Against Drugs” day, where youth wore their favorite sports team apparel, and “Sock it to Drugs” day, when youth wore crazy socks.

CYS Services partnered with the Fort McCoy Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) to offer educational videos, coloring books, and an “I Pledge to be Drug Free” banner for the youth to sign.

“We focused mostly on alcohol abuse and tobacco use with the school-age youth so they are able to make good choices when faced with peer pressure as they get older,” Yahnke said.

Gail R. Zuege, the ASAP Prevention Coordinator and Drug Testing Technician, introduced to CYS Services youth the Drugosuars, depicting various dinosaurs who suffer the consequences of Drug Abuse — “Don’t Go Extinct,” as well as, “The Misadventures of Wags & Freckles, (the story of two dogs who experience the negative effects of alcohol)” to promote youth’s awareness of the consequences of alcohol abuse.

Zuege is available to brief substance abuse prevention topics to any size group (military and civilian) at Fort McCoy and has numerous topics and videos available for supervisors and employees.

Specific training requests can be referred to her at 608-388-5955.

Yahnke said youth also learn about CHARACTER COUNTS! and smart life choices during regular activities during the After School and Summer Camp programs at CYS Services.

For more information about Fort McCoy CYS Services School Age and Youth Center, call 608-388-4373.

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