By Cursha Pierce-LundermanAugust 11, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- School time doesn’t just mean early mornings and homework studies for kids.
There are also plenty of afterschool activities to keep every member of the family occupied this school year. The offerings range from academics to sports.
Ironically, one of the most pressing needs of the Fort Jackson community involves an after school activity for parents, not children.
“We have a Fort Jackson School Board with only one member right now, we need to fill four vacant seats and that’s pretty important to the success of our schools,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Walsh, president of the board. “It’s so important for us as parents to take an interest in our schools. Through the school board, we can truly make changes and make things better for our children.”
A major accomplishment of the board last year was the implementation of the breakfast program at the schools. There will probably be more emphasis on proper nutrition in schools this year.
“The only real requirement for school board members is to have a child enrolled in a Fort Jackson school. If the person is a service member, school board meetings can even be considered a place of duty because this is in accordance with the commanding general and DoD missions for education,” Walsh said.
Applications for school board can be picked up at open houses and the Fort Jackson school liaison office.
For young children, Fort Jackson Child, Youth and School Services has many activities along with two new centers opening this fall to meet afterschool needs.
In youth sports, CYSS is offering cheerleading, flag football and soccer with the addition of tackle football this year.
“We will be playing in a tackle football league with the Northeast Columbia Association,” said Rose Edmond, who is in charge of CYSS. “Sports teach children valuable lessons in sportsmanship and conduct so they are great for children to participate in.”
Two new child care centers will host afterschool programs for kindergarteners and school age children.
“These centers are direct results of the Army Family Covenant and come to us fully furnished and with playground equipment,” Edmond said. “There will be programs for the younger children at the new centers so now the teens will have their center back, which is something they have asked about for a long while.”
Fort Jackson teens also have the option of participating in the HIRED Apprenticeship Program. This program provides teens work experience and college preparation skills, as well as the opportunity to earn a $500 stipend.
Jahqueen Ramsey, a junior at Blythewood High School has enjoyed her HIRED experience this summer at the Hood Street CDC.
“This has been lot of fun to interact with the kids,” Ramsey said. “I plan on using the money to buy a laptop for school.”
There are also scouting opportunities for children and adults of all ages at Fort Jackson. The Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts have troops that are active and looking for new members or volunteers.
“We always need volunteers to help girls discover the skills that will make them the leaders of tomorrow,” said Girl Scout Leader Norma Ferguson.
“All girls in kindergarten through 12th grade are encouraged to come join the troops on Fort Jackson.”
Girls Scouts will hold registration on Aug. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. at 5957 Parker Lane. Information on scouting troops can be found at Fort Jackson schools and CYSS afterschool opportunities can be found at http://fortjacksonmwr.com/cyss.