CYSS program offers new skills, opportunities

Story and photo by Mindy Campbell
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

With thumping music in the background, two students raced each other up the rock wall.

Children on the ground below cheered them on as the climbers challenged themselves to conquer a rocky precipice. For Savannah Wrye, 11, rock climbing is a lot of fun.

“I don’t like other sports,” she said. “This is something I like doing. It is fun and keeps me more active than other sports I have tried.”

Savannah and several other children take part in a rock climbing class held at the Outdoor Recreation shop at the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center. The class is just one of many offered through “EDGE!,” U.S. Army Garrison  Kaiserslautern’s Child, Youth and School Services program, said Janice Broccoli, a Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation partnership specialist.

EDGE! stands for experience, develop, grow and excel. The program offers activities to students in first through 12th grade. Activities are offered in partnership with FMWR organizations throughout the garrison, Broccoli said.

The idea is to offer a short-term learning experience in four different categories, including fitness, art, adventure and life, she said. Each activity generally lasts between four and six weeks.

“This introduces them to activities or sports that maybe they weren’t sure of or hadn’t done before,” Broccoli said.

The program is just a few years old and was developed to feed into garrison youth sports activities and the School for Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills, or SKIESUnlimited, Broccoli said.

“Kids might like the activity after trying out the EDGE! program and then go into one of the longer programs like a SKIES program or a youth sports program,” she said. “Or, we have kids who are in youth sports programs and decide that they want to try a different activity because they weren’t really into this activity or sport.”

EDGE! also offers Aikido, T-shirt art, basketball, wrestling, indoor soccer, archery and fishing. Plus, they hold home alone and street smarts workshops, held on posts throughout the garrison. Activities are free for students in sixth to 12th grade, while a small fee is charged for younger children. The price difference is designed to encourage teens to get involved, Broccoli said.

“Kids typically tend to get into more trouble at that age,” Broccoli said. “If it is free, hopefully it will be an attention grabber for them.”

Susanne Fisher, whose two children attend rock climbing, said it’s a great opportunity for teens.

“This is really nice for teenagers because it encourages them to do something, which they all need,” she said. “Then for the little ones, it doesn’t cost very much. It’s affordable and twice a week, versus sports that are once a week. And this builds their strength and confidence.”

To register for any of the EDGE! program classes or for more information, call Parent Central Service at 0631-3406-4516.

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