SGM(R) Freddie Lighty Jr. knows learning doesn’t happen only in school. That’s why he’s glad to serve as the program coordinator for EDGE, he said, one of the newest Child, Youth & School Services programs available on post, officially starting Aug. 16.
EDGE — which stands for experience, develop, grow, excel — offers “cutting edge,” out-of-the-classroom opportunities for youth ages 6 to 18, Lighty said.
The program features activities in four categories, Art EDGE!, Fit EDGE!, Life EDGE! and Adventure EDGE!, that children registered with CYSS can take part in once or twice a week after school.
“There are a wide range of activities covered — from cooking to auto skills,” Lighty said. “(The program) supports the Army Family Covenant … by increasing school-age and youth program participation through specially designed FMWR activities during out-of-school times.”
Quintarius Nelms, a fifth-grader at Dexter Elementary, is already excited about the two activities he has signed up for: bowling and auto skills.
“It’s a good activity. It’s more hands-on,” the 11-year-old said. “When I go home, I normally play games, and go outside sometimes. It’s better than what I used to do because I like to learn things. It’s cool.”
Seena Nelms said she signed her son up for the program because she wanted him to be exposed to a variety of activities.
“This gives him an opportunity to get out, to do something … with that energy that all kids have instead of sitting in front of the TV or video game,” she said. “I feel like he would learn a little more discipline.”
And in this win-win situation, both parent and child are looking forward to the same thing, Seena said.
“He’s really excited. He asked this morning, does he go this afternoon, and I told him not yet,” she said.
“Not only does the kid benefit in a fun way … the parents also know their child is in a safe place and doing something constructive, useful and fun. You can’t beat it.”
The program is free for ages 11 to 18. For kids 6 to 10, there’s a $5 per hour fee. Each child must participate in a complete four-week program. Activities take place between 3 and 6 p.m.
Lighty said some activities, if they gain enough community interest, could become a new class in the SKIESUnlimited program.
For more information or to sign up, visit www.benningmwr.com/cyss-edge.php or call 706-545-2079.
The first five people to sign up for each activity will receive a $50 Visa gift card.