|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.
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.
“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
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
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
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.