Garrison youth programs driving away with thousands in grant money

A student with Baumholder Child and Youth Services uses the “old” simulator to test his driving skills as part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America UPS Road Code driver education program. 

Teens enrolled in the Child and Youth Services program in Baumholder and Landstuhl are getting a head start on learning to drive responsibly thanks to grant money given to both programs.

The latest grant of $5,000 from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America bought equipment for the BGCA United Parcel Service Road Code Program. The Landstuhl program was also awarded the same grant.

“Getting a driver’s license in Germany is pretty difficult for a teen, so SKIES offers driver’s education,” said Clorissa Rickman, Landstuhl CYS youth program director. “As an extension to that program, the UPS Road Code grant allows us to get some driving equipment and start testing knowledge of our teen students.”

MWR’s School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills, or SKIES, is a program that offers a variety of youth education programs, including at Baumholder and Landstuhl, driver’s education.

The new equipment for the programs includes a virtual-reality equipment package that comes with VR headsets and other tools for an immersive experience.

“The equipment we have right now is made for a Playstation 4 and you just plug in the steering wheel and pedals with a big-screen television,” Flynn said. “The virtual interaction will be a big difference.”

The UPS Road Code program “focuses on different safety principles, from basic instruction to the consequences of risky behaviors such as talking on cell phones, texting or drinking while driving. The program’s driving simulators test teens’ safe driving knowledge using a computer screen featuring interactive animation, a steering wheel, and life-like gas and brake pedals,” according to the BGCA website.

Rickman said the Road Code program can aid students who have a U.S. learner’s permit but still do not meet the host nation requirement of 250 hours of driver’s education.

“Many of our teens go back to the States just to get a permit or a driver’s license and that can be an expensive trip,” Rickman said. “Many times they don’t have hours required for the road test in Germany, so using the Road Code program can help prepare them for taking that road test.”

In Baumholder, CYS Youth Program Director Ryan Flynn said his team is expecting grant money from several benefactors.

“We constantly write grants, and we get a lot of support from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, 4-H, Installation Management Command and others,” Flynn said. “I’ve had a $10,000 grant through IMCOM and $10,500 through BGCA this year.”

For more information on the CYS program in Kaiserslautern (Landstuhl), call 06371-86-5412 (DSN 486-5412) and in Baumholder, call 0611-143-541-3440 (DSN 541-3440).