First Day of School
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Wiesbaden military community students are welcomed back to classes on Aug. 22. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of the Wiesbaden School Liaison Office) VIEW ORIGINAL
Back to School Event
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Community members connected with a wide range of supporting agencies and organizations during the Back to School Event on Aug. 16. (Photo Credit: Karl Weisel, USAG Wiesbaden Family and MWR) VIEW ORIGINAL

WIESBADEN, Germany - Community youth enjoyed a wide range of sports and recreational activities this summer, thanks to the hard-working staffs of Child and Youth Services, the Wiesbaden Library, the Rheinblick Golf Course and other MWR programs.

“Between June 12 and July 17, the Wiesbaden Library hosted both in-person and virtual summer reading programs for all age groups,” said Wiesbaden Library Director Lane DeLaPena.

The summer reading programs, meant to “encourage children, teens and adults to read throughout the summer months,” had more than 440 registered participants, she said. Activities included giveaways, an interactive harp event, an obstacle course for Army Heritage Month and a field trip to Schloss Park.

“By offering a virtual component, the program included those who were travelling and not able to make it to the in-house program,” DeLaPalma explained.

“CYS is very active in supporting our kids over the summer,” said Wiesbaden School Liaison Officer Christopher Dickson. “There is always something to do with School Age Services, the Teen Center, Child and Youth Services Sports and Fitness.”

That support of military families continues throughout the year, Dickson said, explaining that CYS provides a wide range of services during the school year ranging from before and after school care to Teen and Middle School programs, youth sponsors (ambassadors) to the Strong Beginnings program for younger children preparing for a successful transition to school.

“We all have to work together – CYS and DoDEA (and other MWR programs) – to provide kids of all ages with all kinds of activities,” said Dickson. “When school starts, our job doesn’t end.”

Even before the start of school last week, MWR joined forces with agencies and organizations from throughout the garrison to provide a one-stop resource for families during the Back to School Event on Clay Kaserne Aug. 16. Parents were able to meet face-to-face and make valuable contacts with representatives from the Red Cross, USO, Army Community Service, CYS, Religious Support, Scouts, Exchange and a host of other programs ready to aid and assist as the school year was about to get under way.

“We all came together to make this successful and offer this big support network,” Dickson said.

The start of classes on Aug. 22 saw excited youths streaming into Wiesbaden’s four DoDEA schools. Students arrived on foot, were dropped off or rode the bus to school.

“It was a smooth week,” said the School Liaison Officer, adding that with the support of the Military Police, school administrators and others, children were able to safely come and go from their classes. “If you want to educate kids, you need to get them in and out safely.”

Teacher appreciation events and upcoming school open houses also play a role in ensuring a smooth start to the school year, he said. “Appreciation leads to teachers and staff feeling encouraged and valued during the school year.”

MWR will continue do everything possible to ensure military children enjoy a quality experience during their time in Wiesbaden, officials said.

Besides Fall, Winter and Spring CYS Sports programs, CYS’s SKIES Unlimited offers a wealth of growth opportunities – everything from dance to music lessons, martial arts to gymnastics – and the Wiesbaden Library marks the return of Baby and Preschool Story Time every Thursday at 10 a.m.

“Those programs (Story Time) start at the same time so that young families can go to the library together, and siblings of different ages can enjoy the content that is most age appropriate for them,” DeLaPalma said, adding that the Teen Reading Club (led by local teen Mary Catherine) will also meet again starting on Sept. 8.

Dickson added that CYS also helps students transition through its Youth Sponsorship Program.

“There’s nothing like one youth connecting with another youth,” Dickson said, explaining that military children may attend an average of six to nine schools during their school years. “We try to recruit good students to serve as youth sponsors to help new students in alleviating their anxieties about making a move to a new school.”

“Ours are called Student Ambassadors,” he added, saying that the youth sponsors connect with newcomers (and others who may feel overwhelmed) by showing them around, walking together through the school and the community.

Dickson also reminded parents and students that they have a valuable, free online resource available that can help in learning, preparing for upcoming national tests, to help children with their schoolwork and more. Parents can visit Tutor.com for more information.