ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The EDGE! program, offered through Child, Youth and School Services, is allowing youths and teens to expand their horizons by trying out new interests and building skills after school.

EDGE! stands for Experience, Develop, Grow, and Excel and is open to students of service members, civilians, and contactors.

The EDGE! program is designed for youth and teens in grades 1 through 12 to learn new skills and discover new hobbies using Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and partner facilities.

The EDGE! program was established at Aberdeen Proving Ground last fall. Over the course of a year, APG teens and youths have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs, including dancing, cooking and culinary arts, bowling, kayaking, acting and archery.

"It is all about the children having fun and learning new activities," said Chuck Rose, FMWR Partnership Specialist with CYSS and the program lead.

Last month, APG youths and teens participated in paintball, golf and auto maintenance programs.

The auto maintenance program was at FMWR's Automotive Crafts, building 2379 on Fridays. Teens learned basic car maintenance skills like how to change a tire, change oil, jump start a car and more.

The program was taught by Ronald Hanna, a certified service technician for General Motors.

"I wanted to give (the teens) enough information about auto maintenance to empower them to make good decisions when they are older," Hanna said. "People usually make bad decisions when
they do not have proper information."

Hanna said that hopefully the teens will have enough information to be able to take advantage of the Automotive Crafts, which is open to all DoD cardholders, when they are car owners.

"If you want to know more about car maintenance, there is plenty of information available for free on the internet and at the library," he said.

Edward Sheu, 15, who received his driver's permit in September, said that the auto maintenance class helped him prepare for the responsibility of car ownership.

"This class is so important for teens," said Pamela Sheu, Edward's mother. "It gives them information they need about how to maintain a car before they are driving on their own. Plus they probably learn more from someone besides their mom and dad trying to teach it to them."

During the paintball program, fifteen teens improved their teamwork and communication skills while having fun outdoors. The program was offered on Tuesday and Thursday at Robinhood Paintball in Havre de Grace, Md.

"The EDGE! paintball program is one of our most popular programs." Rose said. "It builds teamwork and trust because the teens have to work together to accomplish a task."

During the paintball classes the youths who participated learned different paintball techniques including safety practices.

"Paintball teaches you to use your ammo wisely," said Joseph Paramore, 12.

Damian Coombs, 12, said that he enjoyed the break in routine.

"This is my first time doing paintball, I think it is fun. It is something to do besides sit at home and watch television."

"I like that is fast pace," added Justin Duvall, 12.

On Wednesdays teens and youths participated in the EDGE! golf program held at Ruggles Golf Course. Ruben Ferguson, head professional at the Edgewood Area's Exton Golf Course and Dave Correll, head professional at Ruggles Golf Course, served as instructors for the EDGE! golf program.

Susan and Chris Byers, who accompanied their children, Emily, 12, Henry, 10, and John, 8, said that they appreciated that the program offered an activity that their whole Family enjoyed.

"I think it is great, what's not to like about it'" Susan said. "We are having fun and the whole Family is involved. I think that the two-hour program allows the children to get a lot of practice time in, so I think it is wonderful."

EDGE! is a free program for youths and teens age 11-18. School-aged children, first through fifth grade, who are not regular users of CYS Services, will be charged a $5 per hour fee. Five to 10
hours of free monthly SAS Open Recreation can be applied towards participation in EDGE! programs when available to this age group.

Parents and Families are invited to participate with their youth or teen during the last session of each program.

"This is all about getting youth and teens involved in something good and parents having fun with their kids," Rose said.

The EDGE! programs act as a precursor to other FMWR programs, like SKIES and CYSS sports.

"Youth can try out a package, and if they decide they like it, we can let them know of other programs offered through FMWR that will let them pursue their hobby," he said. Rose said that one of the goals of The EDGE! program is to involve youth and Families who are not currently using FMWR facilities.

"We want to encourage youth who are not currently enrolled in FMWR programs to see what we have to offer by participating in this program," he said. "Those who are already participating are encouraged to tell their friends about our program. Sign your kids up now for lots of fun in the EDGE! program throughout the year," Rose said. Look for announcements about EDGE! in the APG News and at www. apgmwr.com/family/youth_edge.html. To register, visit the CYSS Central Registration Office, Bldg. 2503 or contact Rose at 410-278-7933/34 or on email at chuck. rose1@us.army.mil

Page last updated Mon December 6th, 2010 at 15:31