Skip to comments.Armed Services YMCA Improves Quality of Life
Posted on 09/13/2005 5:34:46 PM PDT by SandRat
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., Sept. 13, 2005 For more than 140 years, the Armed Services YMCA continues to increase quality of life for service members and their families by offering support to communities and families.
For director Anita Neu-Fultz and her staff at the Combat Center ASYMCA, that goal is paramount and unwavering as they volunteer to help others year-round.
"Many people do not even know the Armed Service YMCA even exists," said Neu-Fultz. "They hear YMCA, and they think of sports programs and hotels and gyms and pools. But not many realize what we actually do here. We are a part of the YMCA organization, but we cater solely to military families and are entirely non-profit."
The ASYMCA, which saw it's creation during the Civil War, also spawned other programs such as the Morale, Welfare and Recreation organization, which is now Marine Corps Community Services, the United Service Organization and others.
The Combat Center ASYMCA offers a multitude of 10-week programs for young children and their parents throughout the school year and summer months. The courses are joint child-parent classes where both can grow together.
"We have Playtime with Baby, Tiny Tots, Kinder Time and Kinder Ready, which are all child-parent interaction programs," said Neu-Fultz. "We also have what we call the 'Operation Hero' program at Condor Elementary and Twentynine Palms Elementary Schools for children of service members."
The after-school Operation Hero program, and its follow-on Kids Care Club, are two of the biggest and most rewarding programs ASYMCA offers, said Neu-Fultz.
"Operation Hero is an enrichment program that is designed mainly for military children where we work with kids from local elementary schools," said Karen Jensen, the Operation Hero coordinator. "It's a 10-week session, and they work on key aspects like self-esteem, building friendships and responsibility. We offer snacks, homework help and an atmosphere where the kids can develop character skills they will use in life."
"A lot of these kids move a lot, and they sometimes feel like they are the only ones who have no friends," said Jensen. "This allows them to be connected with other kids going through the same things and make new friends."
After the Operation Hero program concludes, kids may join the Kids Care Club, where they learn to give back, said Jensen.
"With Kids Care Club, it allows them to give back to the community," said Jensen. "Although they're only eight or 10 now, maybe it will help shape their lives for the better and make them want to give back more throughout their lives."
"This will be my first year doing this program, but from what I hear, the kids really love it and many want to go back and do it again," said Jensen. "So many of the kids meet new friends who they would not have ordinarily met because they are not in the same classes, so it gives them a medium to find each other. They are really able to express themselves and have a good time here."
The ASYMCA also has ties with other organizations to help them achieve their goals, such as the Key Volunteer Network, the Lifestyle, Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills program, MCCS, Fiesta Ford, the Boy Scouts of America and various other services around the base.
"Not many people know that we actually house the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of Troop 78 here at one of our classrooms," said Neu-Fultz. "Although we don't sponsor them, we do have a close relationship with the troop because they help us out a great deal as well."
However, their main focus, supporting families, is still never far from sight and the ASYMCA has plans for the future.
"In the future, we're working on a program called 'Meet the Masters,' that is intended to introduce the kids to master artists and musicians such as Van Gogh, Monet, Beethoven and Mozart," said Neu-Feltz. "That is a new program for the ASYMCA as a whole, and it should be a big success. On top of learning about the masters though, you also get to paint and the kids use cotton swabs and have fun."
"Next year, we are partnering with the Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce to organize a soap box derby for the kids in June," said Neu-Feltz.
In addition to programs, the ASYMCA also offers services for families such as Free Bread Fridays, where patrons receive two or three loaves of bread donated from a Palm Springs bakery and simply providing comfort for people.
Israel Flores and Marin McCarthy sit in beanbag chairs as they watch a movie with the Fitness and Fun program through the Armed Services YMCA here Tuesday at the Community Center. Photo by Lance Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill
Mat 19:13-14 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put [his] hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
For an Awwwwwwwwwww! They're so sweet moment.
Awwwwwwwwww! You're right, it was! :o)
Quality of Life ~ Bump!