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Think outside the box with EDGE

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.

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