FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills Unlimited program offers a variety of instructional sports and arts classes during the summer.

"The program offers a wide range of activities for children of all ages and interests," said Shelia Shepard, Instructional Programs Specialist.

Children 18 months to 17 years old can explore swimming, gymnastics, tennis, martial arts, dance and music programs.

"There are no competitions in the SKIES programs (because) our programs are designed to build children's self-esteem and-confidence," said Shepard. "(The programs) create a sense of consistency and the knowledge that when you work hard, results are achieved."

Shepard encourages parents to research what SKIES Unlimited provides before signing up their children for off-post activities.

"SKIES programs are a tremendous value when you compare the cost of classes offered at the youth center to those offered off post," she said.

<b>Swimming </b>

Swimming instruction, for the past few months, has been on hold because of construction at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility and the indoor pool there, Shepard said. The summer program offers morning and evening classes for all swimming levels at the Flynn Pool. She noted the training meets American Red Cross standards.

Summer swim classes offered at Flynn Pool cover Parent Tot, Pre-School, Swimming Level 1-4 and up, Guard Start, and a snorkel and diving class.

Cost is $33 per student for eight classes.

<b>Martial Arts </b>

The words "Tae Kwon Do" mean "the art of kicking and punching." However, the goal is to help children learn discipline, focus, attitude, self-control, confidence and build self-esteem, said instructor Martha Miller.

Miller has been teaching martial arts classes for Youth Services for more than 10 years. She also teaches self-defense.

During Miller's instruction, students learn how to perform the movements properly.

"I like the discipline for him. He likes it and it's very good for him," said Family member Gloria Gonzalez, while watching her child practice punching.

Cost is $25 for children, ages 3-6, and $33 for children ages 10 and older for eight sessions per month.

<b>Gymnastics </b>

During the gymnastics class, boys and girls learn how to move in a safe, non-competitive environment. New instructor, Chara Beightol, said she motivates children and hopes to build a lifetime of healthy habits including good self-esteem, confidence, posture, strong muscles, bones and a sense of character.

"Coach Chara is extremely kind, knowledgeable and consistent with routines and exercises," said Family member Mary Thompson. "(She) works with each child starting with (his or her) ability and moving forward. Any time I get a chance to recommend students for gymnastics, I do it."

<b>Tennis</b>

Tennis lessons are conducted Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. in June and July at the tennis courts by Flynn Pool. Cost is $23 a month.

<b>Dance</b>

Ballet and tap dance classes are offered at the Youth Services Center beginning June 14.
Beginning classes work on dance fundamentals that include warm ups, positions and dance terminology. Intermediate and advanced classes build on this foundation and carry students as far as practice and talent take them, said dance instructor Kathleen Burrill.

<b>Music</b>

"Our newest program is the piano and violin course," Shepard said.

Recently hired music instructor Rebecca Moyana teaches violin and piano. She specializes in classical music, but teaches children appropriate songs they want to learn.

"The best thing is being able to motivate the children to play songs that inspire them," Moyana said.

Piano and violin lessons are taught by one-on-one private instruction for 30 minutes at a time a week. Cost is $53 a month.

Through a partnership with a local Enterprise business, students may receive instruction for all band instruments including drums, guitar, horns, piano and saxophone.

Parents may register their children for SKIES programs at the Parent Central Services, Bldg. 5700, Rm. 130, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 255-9638.

For more information, contact the SKIES office at 255-1867 or visit <a href="http://www.ftruckermwr.com" target="_blank">www.ftruckermwr.com</a>.

Page last updated Thu May 13th, 2010 at 13:15