SCHWEINFURT, Germany (Sept. 30, 2013) -- When garrison leaders ask themselves why garrisons exist, they know that childcare ranks among the top priorities. It's certainly my highest priority.

This is Michael Payne, U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt's director of Child, Youth and School Services, the organization that provides you the best Child and Youth programs in all of Europe.

Schweinfurt, the CYSS team and I have been listening to your stories, and ever since the announcement of closure, we know how important it is to not only maintain childcare and youth programs, but to maintain them at the highest standard. And despite a shrinking community and workforce, we will not let up on providing quality services. Our goal is to be able to provide care until the last child leaves the garrison.

The reality is, however, that our garrison is drawing down and our population is shrinking. Our staff is also heading off to do great work outside of Schweinfurt. It also means that we must adjust some of our CYSS programs and office locations to both serve you and accommodate changes. But what's important to remember is that these changes should have little to no impact on you and your child.

Here is a list of issues the CYSS staff and I feel you should know now:

1. Childcare. While stationed at USAG Schweinfurt, you will always have a childcare option. We will continue to support community needs with both full- and part-time options -- not only at our Child Development Center at Askren Manor, but also through our Family Child Care program. I encourage all parents to consider using our FCC providers, who are subject to the same stringent standards as our CDC. Currently, we have five FCC providers. And provided we have staff and space available, we will continue to offer hourly care options at our CDC, as well as through FCC.

2. SAC to CDC. Since Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, all of the School Age Center offices and programs located at Bldg. 575 at Askren Manor have moved to our CDC at Askren, Bldg. 505. What does this mean to you? Only a change in location. We will continue to provide the same school-age services, both a.m. and p.m. So long as there is a need, matched with the required staff, we'll continue providing it.

3. Youth Center. The School Age Center is moving to the CDC. That's good news for our teens who use the Youth Center, which moved there this past summer. The Youth Center -- which was relegated to a single room -- can now spread its wings and branch out into other rooms. Again, so long as there is a need for teen programs, we aim to offer them there.

4. Parent Central Services. Our Parent Central Services office re-located to the CDC this past summer. The hours of operation remain Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with one caveat. The office will now be closed from noon to 1 p.m. This allows us to move staff throughout other CYSS programs to keep them running.

5. Sports/SKIES Unlimited. Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, the youth sports and SKIES Unlimited offices will relocate from Ledward Barracks into the School Age Center, Bldg. 575, at Askren Manor. We'll continue offering youth sports and our SKIES Unlimited classes will now be offered out of SAC classrooms. These include such classes such as music and dance instruction.

Has closure at times been frustrating? Yes. As both a parent myself and a garrison director, I know. But Schweinfurt, know that we are creating strategies to bounce back from the challenges closure throws at us. And together with my staff and your cooperation, we will continue to deliver services that educate, entertain and strengthen our kids -- all within a safe and friendly environment.