EDGE! program expands youthful horizons
EDGE! participants learn about basic car maintenance at the Wiesbaden Auto Skills Center.

WIESBADEN, Gemrany -- Just because they're in Europe is no reason for Wiesbaden military youths to miss out on the wide range of opportunities available to their stateside peers.
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Thanks to CYSS's EDGE! program young people are getting the chance to experience everything from learning the basics of car repair at the Auto Skills Center to creating their own handicrafts at Wiesbaden's Arts and Crafts Center. They're also rock climbing, canoeing, cooking, scuba diving and learning the art of painting china.
In between all of that they're taking time to enjoy German traditions by exploring the Wiesbaden Christmas Market.
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"The EDGE! program gives them an opportunity to take part in an activity that they might otherwise not have had the chance to do while outside of the United States," said Steven Hall, Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation partnership coordinator for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. "It gives them a lot of opportunities to see what they'd really like to do."
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And the best part of EDGE! is that it's free, Hall said.
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Introduced in the Installation Management Command-Europe this spring, the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden quickly joined the effort to reach out to the many young people who weren't already active in traditional CYSS programs.
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"We started training in April," said Hall, explaining that the EDGE! was launched in summer featuring everything from golf activities to fitness and dance, puppet workshops to drawing instruction.
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One misconception parents had, he said, was that EDGE! was only a summer program.
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"We did really, really well. Then school started and everyone disappeared," said Hall, adding that EDGE! is quickly picking up steam again with about 80-95 youths participating a week. "We've done canoeing, high ropes and we're going ice skating in downtown Wiesbaden. The program has gotten a lot of support. We're getting a lot of positive feedback."
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Working closely with FMWR programs throughout the command, the EDGE! is a partnership that provides funding, support and expertise while opening opportunities to young people who otherwise might not be normally included in facility programming.
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The four primary categories of EDGE! are Adventure, Art, Fit and Life, said Hall, pointing out that they are free for sixth- to 12th-graders and available for a small fee to first- to fifth-graders.
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Another aspect of the Army's overall focus on supporting military families through the Army Family Covenant, the EDGE! enhances traditional CYSS programs.
"The EDGE! helps take care of Soldiers' families when they are downrange or deployed," Hall said. "It helps especially take care of children when there may not be as much adult supervision in the home."
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Reaching out
"I think this really does a great job in reaching out to those who might not have a great desire to take part in other programs such as SKIES - and there's really no financial commitment.
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"Through the holidays we'll continue to feature activities and we'll probably have some special things as well," Hall said.
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EDGE! events are held from 3-6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
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For more information on upcoming EDGE! events check with the Teen Center in Hainerberg Housing, Central Enrollment or call Steven Hall at civ (0611) 408-0169 or mil 335-5169.
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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16