Skate Night offers escape for Families, community
Darlene Shannon, military spouse, helps her sons, Avery and Sammy, skate during Fort Rucker School Age Center's Skate Night Jan. 4. Skate night is held the first and third Friday of every month from 6:15-10:15 p.m.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (January 10, 2013) -- Friday nights are often spent in front of the television or playing video games for most children, but the school age center offers a way for them to get out of the house and into a more social, active environment.

Skate Night is held the first and third Friday of every month and Fort Rucker youth are invited to join each other for a night of skating, games and fun, according to Joanie Riggs, school age center supervisory program specialist.

"It's just a night for children to come out and learn to skate, or skate at their leisure," she said. "The staff gets involved with it and play games with the children or even dance with them. The experience is just a neat little thing for children to do."

Skate Night consists of two separate sessions throughout the night. The first session begins at 6:15 p.m. for children 12 and younger, and is meant to be a safety hour to teach younger skaters how to learn to skate. The cost to skate is $2 per skater for the first session, $5 per skater for the second session and free for parents.

"Most of the time, younger children come with their parents and learn to skate with them," said Riggs. "It's a slower pace, so the children have the whole floor to practice with their parents, and we'll even get out there and help guide them if they need it."

After the safety hour, open skating runs from 7:30-10:15 p.m. for all ages, according to the program specialist.

"During this phase of the Skate Night, children don't have to have their parents there to supervise them and they can just skate with their friends or whoever they want under our supervision," she said. "We will play music a little louder and we'll play music that relates more to the older children as well."

Throughout the night, the children can also participate in games like Four Square and Limbo for prizes, Riggs added.

If a child wishes to skate during the second session without a parent present, the child must be at least 6 years old, but before any child can skate, he or she must be enrolled in the youth program.

"When they enroll in the youth program at the school age center, it doesn't mean that they have to come out every day to the center," said Riggs. "It just means that we have them on file in our system and they can come enjoy any of the activities that we have here."

The school age center is open to all Families of military, non-appropriated fund employees, civilian employees and contract employees.

"We have a diverse population here at the center from civilian to military," she said. "This is just a great place for all children to come and enjoy their time on a Friday night. It keeps the children occupied and active rather than sitting at home in front of the TV -- it gives them something to look forward to."

Darlene Shannon, military spouse, agrees.

"It's just awesome for the children to have something like this on Fort Rucker," she said. "The price can't be beat, the environment is good and we try to take advantage of most of the activities they have here."

Skating isn't the only activity offered at the school age center. The center offers many after-school programs for cooking, arts and games, as well as activities through organizations like Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills, and youth sports.

"We just want to give the children something to do here on the installation, so they should just come on out and give it a try," said Riggs.

For more information, call 255-9108.

Page last updated Thu January 10th, 2013 at 00:00