Fort McCoy News Sept. 8, 2017

SAC/YC wraps up summer program,

starts school year

Public Affairs Staff

The Fort McCoy School-Age Center/Youth Center (SAC/YC) is wrapping up its summer program and starting the new school year.
The SAC/YC's summer program provides elementary, middle, and high school students a way to stay active and engaged throughout their school break so they can return to school ready to keep learning.

"Each week there's a different theme, and that week's activities go along with the theme," said Anne Young, supervisory program specialist with the SAC/YC.

For example, the youth center had a "green thumb" week that focused on the community garden, how plants grow and thrive, and the types of food that can be grown at home.

Fort McCoy youth work on a baking project at the School-Age Center/Youth Center during the summer program at the center.
Fort McCoy youth work on a baking project at the School-Age Center/
Youth Center during the summer program at the center.
Photo by
Dustin Lakowske

"They've been really involved in the garden in the back," said Megan Browning, assistant director of the SAC/YC. "We cook things out of it. We cooked zucchini that we picked out of it the other day. ... They're pretty proud of the garden."

SAC/YC staff members try to make sure their students are still learning while having fun. Science experiments have been popular this summer.

"They just did a bunch of experiments with balloons, like learning about lungs using balloons," Young said.
The youths also exercised their creativity through projects and activities at the center.

"They're obsessed with fuse beads this summer," Browning said. Fuse beads are small plastic beads that are arranged on boards then heated with an iron to form a solid shape. While patterns are usually provided in the kits, Young said the children and teens prefer to design their own creations.

"They make phones with them and make them realistic with little apps on them and make them 3-D," Young said.

The staff members also make sure the children and teens stay active. Young said the center held Sports Camp every afternoon, giving students a chance to get moving while trying out a wide variety of sports.

"Each week they've had a different sport they could learn, like golf one week and floor hockey another," Young said. "They get to learn sports they might not have tried or heard of before."

A two-week program for the teens focused on manufacturing, Browning said.

Youth work in a garden they created during the summer program at the School-Age Center/Youth Center.
Youth work in a garden they created during the summer program at
the School-Age Center/Youth Center.
Photo by Dustin Lakowke

"They went to Fast Corp. (in Sparta) to see how waterslides are made, and then they went to Mount Olympus (in Wisconsin Dells) to experience the waterslides," she said.

The idea is to show the teens the processes and work behind the fun activities they enjoy, Young said.

"Some of the tubes at Mount Olympus are made at Fast Corp.," she said. "They took a picture of themselves beside the tube at Fast Corp. and at Mount Olympus so they could see the correlation between the two."

Younger children also have the chance to go off post for activities.

"The middle school teen program volunteered at Tomah Nursing and Rehabilitation every Monday," Browning said.

They participated in activities with the residents, going on scavenger hunts and bowling with them.

Kindergarteners and first-graders went to Winnebago Wednesdays in Tomah, where The Parenting Place puts on weekly activities at Winnebago Park. Each week's activities focus on a theme, such as transportation or agriculture.

Browning said it's nice to have the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities close at hand. The students enjoyed the chance to go the beach and the playgrounds at Pine View Campground. Bowling trips to McCoy's Community Center are also popular.

SAC/YC staff members are also ready for the school year, although it had already started for some area students who have switched to a year-round school system.

"We are servicing the 45-15 schools," Browning said. "We're picking them up from school already, and we'll be open during their weeks off."

Signups are open for the After-School Program, which will go into full swing when most students return to classes after Labor Day. SAC/YC staff are also planning their back-to-school bash and school supply drive. Information on those two events will be released through Child and Youth Services.

The SAC/YC also puts on the annual Day for Kids, which is Sept. 16. The event features a color run, activities, and door prizes. Day for Kids is open to the entire Fort McCoy community.

The SAC/YC is run by Fort McCoy Child and Youth Services. For more information about Child and Youth Services, including eligibility, call Parent Central Services at 608-388-8956.