• Smooth Move Workshop and Tour participants depart the Teatro Olimpico on their way to a lunch break in downtown Vicenza June 26.

    Exploring Vicenza

    Smooth Move Workshop and Tour participants depart the Teatro Olimpico on their way to a lunch break in downtown Vicenza June 26.

  • Vicenza High School junior Jordan Larsen (center right) takes a look around the Duomo in downtown Vicenza with other guides and participants in the Smooth Move Workshop and Tour June 26.

    Exploring Vicenza

    Vicenza High School junior Jordan Larsen (center right) takes a look around the Duomo in downtown Vicenza with other guides and participants in the Smooth Move Workshop and Tour June 26.

VICENZA, Italy -- A gaggle of teenagers took a trip downtown last Tuesday morning to learn a little something about Italian history and cuisine, Garibaldi and gelato: there's a lot of it and it comes in an endless assortment of flavors.

The dozen teens, incoming middle-schoolers, were participating in the Smooth Move Workshop and Tour program, a daylong outing that provides an informal introduction to life on and off post.

The group met at Davis Hall June 26 for introductions and snacks accompanied by information about life in the Vicenza community, including volunteer opportunities, school sports programs and off-post athletic team opportunities.

Under the supervision of USAG-Vicenza's Relocation Readiness Manager, Julia Sibilla, and Child, Youth and Schools Services schools liaison officer Norie McCall, and the leadership of a half dozen Vicenza High School students, the Smooth Movers rode the No. 1 bus downtown to the main train station for some practical experience on how to buy tickets, decipher schedules and locate tracks.

The group proceeded on foot into town with pauses along the way for short discussions about renowned Vicentine figures Antonio Pigafetta and Andrea di Pietro della Gondola -- known around the world as Palladio, and the modern national hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi.

A quick tour of the Duomo and a stop along the way for ice cream was followed by a stroll through the weekly market in and around la Piazza dei Signori and a tour of the Teatro Olimpico.

After lunch at a local restaurant to keep body and soul together, as well as pick up a few essential phrases, the group returned to Caserma Ederle for a windshield tour of the Villaggio housing area, school complex, teen center and swimming pool.

"It's fun," said incoming sixth-grader, Katie Gill, who arrived with her family from Fort Campbell, Ky., in early June.

"It has a lot of history and it's really nice," said her sister, Kaekoa Gill, also an incoming sixth-grader.

Kaekoa was spooning up a banana gelato, her sister a flavor whose name she didn't quite know, but was enjoying just the same.

"It's cool," said incoming eighth-grader Bryce Franklin.

"They don't know Garibaldi, but they know gelato. I love it," said Sibilla.

"I think it gives them maybe something to look up to when they kind of grow up and they become older," said Vicenza High School junior Jordan Larsen, one of half a dozen VHS students accompanying the tour as guides and mentors.

"They might appreciate this more. It's just a kind of a more maturity thing," she said.

And having made the transition to life in Vicenza herself, what would she consider the most challenging aspect for youth arriving in the community over the summer?

"Definitely the language, trying to get around and understand what everything means, that was definitely the most difficult thing. But once you understand the simple phrases, important words, it's easier to get by," said Larsen.

The Smooth Move Workshop and Tour, an introductory familiarization experience for incoming middle- and high-school students aged 13 to 18, is the garrison's initiative developed in response to the draft Army Sponsorship Program, said CYSS coordinator Eric Weisel.

The tour is student-led and adult supervised, said McCall. As conducted in Vicenza, the Smooth Move is a team effort with input and support from the Youth Center, Student-to-Student, School Support Services and Army Community Service. The community AAFES also contributed gift bags for participants, she said.

Page last updated Mon July 16th, 2012 at 00:00