EDGE/HIRED: Learning skills for life in youth programs inspired by Army Family Covenant
Jacob Woods and Cullen Beaty attempt to loosen a screw on the oil pan during EDGE auto skills tranining at the Mainz-Kastel Auto Skills Center.

WIESBADEN, Germany - As the black silky fluid spouted from the undercarriage of the blue Acura, several Wiesbaden youths learned a lesson about one of life's many challenges.
A,A
Seven boys learned how to perform an oil change Nov. 15 at the Wiesbaden Auto Skills Center as part of an EDGE Auto Skills course offered during the month of November.
A,A
"Auto Skills is an oldie but goodie," said Steven Hall, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation partnership specialist/EDGE director. "Parents have saved a lot of money from the activity" with their children learning how to perform basic car maintenance.
A,A
The EDGE activities, which include everything from auto skills to dancing, crafts to outdoor adventures, are free for youths in grades six to 12.
A,A
"The idea of the EDGE program," inspired by the Army Family Covenant, Hall said, "was to make sure we were reaching everyone - not only people already using the Teen Center."
A,A
EDGE, which stands for Experience, Develop, Grow and Excel, offers a wide range of opportunities for youths on base while they're overseas - an introduction to hobbies and interests that they might like to pursue further. "It's a great opportunity for them to experience different hobbies and interests without costing a lot of money," Hall said. "Golf is a good example. Parents don't like to spend a lot of money" if a child might decide not to pursue an activity. "With EDGE they can go in and try golfing - see if they like it. The same with auto skills - they can see if they like working on cars or not, before buying a junker for their first car, knowing that they will be able to maintain the car on their own. They can discover for themselves a little bit without draining their parents' wallets.
A,A
"If we get a good response from an activity we know it's something we'll want to offer again in the future," Hall said. "We've had a lot of success - a lot of great activities."
A,A
Ever popular activities include canoeing, archery, air rifle shooting, art and swimming, he said. "It seems like once we get them going and the public hears about them they fill up quickly."
A,A
A,A "Wow, this is free," said Sara Flynn when a friend informed her about EDGE. "Being able to try so many things to see what you like or what you're good at and at an affordable price (is great)," said Flynn.
A,A
Parents become quick advocates of the program because they realize the value of the classes.
A,A
"I like that he's learning things. It's giving him a well-rounded childhood," said Sara Flynn, who said she wished such programs were available to her when she was younger. "They are amazing classes, and they're free."
A,A
As a result of the exposure offered through EDGE, youths are less apprehensive of new endeavors.
A,A
"He's more ready to try more things after trying all of these things," said Flynn who said her son enrolled in the program at the beginning of the summer and had tried cooking, bowling, dancing, archery, air rifle, water colors, arts and crafts, EDGE fit and auto skills.
A,A
And while EDGE is designed to keep youths from idleness, its many offerings also do well in distracting parents during times of separation from spouses.
A,A
"We're in the middle of a deployment. It keeps me busy so I'm not thinking about it too much," said Flynn, whose husband is currently downrange with the 1st Armored Division. "It makes time go fast."
A,A
Hall said the EDGE organizers are always looking for new activities to offer, provided they are relatively safe and not cost prohibitive. Musical dance is one possibility, he said, "and we'd like to have a father-daughter dance as part of the upcoming redeployment."
A,A
Students can sign up for Adventure EDGE, which features a host of different activities and is held on Thursdays, at the Wiesbaden Middle School. To sign up for all other EDGE activities in Wiesbaden contact Parent Central Services at civ (0611) 705-7928. Information is also available online at https://webtrac.mwr.army.mil/webtrac/wiesbadencyms.html.
A,A
HIRED program
Baumholder's HIRED apprenticeship program is a workforce-preparation and apprenticeship enterprise designed to assist Army teens ages 15-18. The program offers teens an opportunity to gain valuable career insight and the chance to receive a stipend for completing the 180-hour work schedule term.
A,A
Participants must commit to 15 hours of participation within a seven-day period for a total of 180 hours per apprenticeship term.
A,A
For more information on Baumholder's HIRED program call the Wetzel Teen Center at civ (06783) 6-6348.

Page last updated Tue November 23rd, 2010 at 06:43