By Kristin Bradley, USAG Hohenfels Public AffairsMarch 19, 2008
HOHENFELS, Germany - Allison Billhardt, Brittney Hawkins and Susan Daniel are pulling 45-hour weeks to help the smallest members here.
The three interns are with Camp Adventure - a not-for-profit educational program based out of the University of Northern Iowa - which provides college-age students with learning experiences while assisting communities.
The trio rotates between the U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels Child Development Center and School Age Services, filling in where needed.
"It has been very helpful having the interns," said Deltra Hearne, assistant director of CDC. "They ... cover things like block leave and rest-and-relaxation leave, (allowing) the staff to spend time with their spouses."
Two CDC employees are married to Soldiers in Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, which returned from a seven-month deployment in late February. By having students available, the center can afford to give regular workers time off to be with their spouses, which relieves a lot of stress, said Hearne. The interns also cover most of the CDC and SAS night shifts, such as Family Readiness Group meetings and parent's nights out.
Billhardt, a recent graduate of the University of Iowa with an education degree, said Camp Adventure allows her to further hone skills captured in school.
"It helps you to learn how to react to things and gives you ideas for your own classroom," she said, adding that it also allows her to travel and gain experiences before settling down into a first job.
Hawkins, a junior at Chico State University in California, is earning 12 college credits for her time here, which began Jan. 22 and ends May 17.
A liberal studies major, Hawkins said: "I'm here to figure out what I want to do. It's such a great opportunity. Someone said it's like being in America on the weekdays and Europe on the weekends."
The young women - who treasure the mornings when excited kids rush in - admit that caring for the youth of military families offers unique challenges, such as tending to the needs of children of deployed parents.
Being sent downrange "puts a lot more stress on the parents," said Billhardt. "It's a lot raising kids by yourself, while your (spouse) is deployed. It's something we have to remember."
"I give a lot of credit to the parents who do it," added Hawkins.
Barbara Tennant, director of Hohenfels' CDC, said it was the Army that first approached Camp Adventure about accepting interns in providing some childcare needs. Before arriving, the interns are trained by the Iowa-based program, which, Tennant said, has done a very good job in preparing the students for their duties.
Additionally, bringing more interns onboard is part of the overall Army Family Covenant program, which promises to improve the lives of military families, especially those impacted the most by a current high operations tempo.