By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterDecember 12, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (December 12, 2013) -- It's often said that when one door closes, another opens, and with the closing of Kids on Site at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center, a door of opportunities is opened for Fort Rucker parents.
In the coming weeks, Kids on Site will be closing due to fiscal restraints, but with other options on post, such as the child development center and the new 24/7 Mini CDC, parents don't have to feel limited when trying to get their workouts in, according to Pam Williams, Fort Rucker Child, Youth and School Services coordinator.
"Although our Kids on Site option at the (Fort Rucker) Physical Fitness Center has been very popular with our faithful group of 13 Families, we could not in good faith and stewardship continue to operate the facility at a loss," said Williams. "Especially when we have the option of child care availability at two other child care facilities within close proximity to both fitness centers."
The CDC, located in Bldg. 8938 on Red Cloud Road, offers hourly childcare by reservations up to two weeks in advance as well as on demand if space is available. This facility best serves those Families who want to utilize the fitness centers between the hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Williams said it's best for people to make reservations so that they can ensure that they have a slot for their child.
Reservations can be made by calling 255-2262 or online at https://webtrac.mwr.army.mil.
Additionally, Families have the new 24/7 Mini CDC, located at Bldg. 8946 on Seventh Avenue, which will house a full-day program for patrons with non-traditional work hours. The facility also allows for hourly care on a space-available basis during all hours of operation. Since the facility is a full-day care facility, reservations for hourly care cannot be made, but people can call 255-3106 to see if room is available for hourly-care service, said Williams.
The two-hour minimum childcare requirement has been removed to better serve Fort Rucker Families, and the cost will be the same as they were for the Kids on Site facility.
Although Kids on Site is closing, the advantages of the options give parents more freedom and flexibility to do more during their workout time, said the CYSS coordinator.
"Kids on Site was an on-site childcare facility where child care did not take over the parental responsibilities," said Williams. "Parents were required to remain in the building in case of an emergency, so even if a parent wanted to run the track, they were unable to do so because they must be immediately available to us. It was a great concept, but it was constrained.
"Patrons can even utilize their time and add errand time or lunch dates to their list of activities while their child is in hourly care," she continued. "They will no longer be tied to the interior of the fitness center as they were with Kids on Site."
Another hiccup that the Kids on Site program ran into was that many of the fitness classes were held at Fortenberry-Colton PFC, and childcare was exclusively at the Fort Rucker PFC.
"The idea for Kids on Site came out of an (Army Family Action Plan) issue around 2008, and there was an opportunity to provide (the service) during the renovation of the facility," said Williams. "Although we had a faithful group of Families, we can't be good stewards of government if we're losing money, especially if that money can be put to good use elsewhere."
Another advantage that the CDC and Mini CDC have over Kids on Site is that they are full-care facilities and are built to such standards that it's a much safer environment for children with round-the-clock caregivers who are there to watch over, entertain and feed the children, if necessary.
For more information on the CDC or Mini CDC, call 255-9638.