To the delight and enjoyment of enrolled children, the grounds next to the Fort Buchanan Child Youth Center (CYS), is now a miniature golf course. The bright green course with its white hand-painted curving pavestone borders was constructed with funds provided by the 2020 Panda Cares Academic Success Grant, a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) who together strive to foster academic success for America’s youth at Clubhouses across the country.This miniature golf course is the brainchild of CYS Program Professional, Isaac Cruz. Cruz in addition to designing the course with the assistance of a group of school age children wrote the proposal based on research. He understood that this would help children, youth and teens in leading a healthy, satisfying and productive life, helping them be more successful in society. Cruz believes that through golf, children can develop: life skills, improve interpersonal abilities, show respect to themselves, others and their surroundings, improve self-management proficiencies, learn to keep a positive attitude to monitor and better evaluate themselves, goal setting competence, and consequently increase academic performance. Promoting the ability to move forward when confronted with challenges, problems and setbacks faced in everyday life. Kids, while having a great time, can further develop hand-eye coordination, required for a good putt.CYS staff created a Project Based Learning (PBL) program for this endeavor, which is divided into phases. PBL is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. By participating in its design and construction, the children involved demonstrated what that they learned and the skills acquired in creating the final product, the CYS Miniature Golf Course.“This has been a team effort,” emphasized CYS Facility Director, Evelyn De La Cruz. “Isaac Cruz wanted to do this amazing project for many years for our community’s children and families. We want our community to know, that even during rough times such as COVID-19 or any other situations, CYS will always be there for them. ARMY Strong!” she said.This project provides another recreational activity for our military community. Fresh air and free movement outdoors takes them away from their mobile-electronic environment, video games and computers. Military families often do not get enough time together to engage in fun activities.“A trip to our CYS Mini Golf Course as a family can strengthen bonds and allow family members to compete in an enjoyable atmosphere during their leisure time in keeping with our afterschool mission to reduce the conflict between mission readiness and parental responsibilities,” concluded De La Cruz.When confronting the constraints and challenges of COVID-19, social distancing comes naturally to golf because it is not a contact sport. Before each game, every golf club and ball is disinfected, participants will make teams of three and each golfer will have their own club and ball. Children will wash their hands with soap and water before and after play. Face covering will be required during and after each game and staff will disinfect the golf course to ensure the safety of all of the patrons. At this time, the miniature golf course is only open to enrolled members of the CYS program, for additional information: (787) 707-3569 / (787) 707-3769 / (787) 707-3787.