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NEWS | June 14, 2021

Youth programs resume operations post COVID-19

By Onyx Taylor-Catterson 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The youth services program at Fort Eustis, Virginia, re-opened its doors to children ages 9-18 on June 1, 2021 for open recreation from 11:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“Right now we are just pushing out what we can and then as the summer months go on, we are adding more programs,” remarks Billie Hogan, 733d Force Support Squadron Youth programs director. “So by the time fall comes, we hope to be totally open”.

Participation in youth programs is free and open to active duty, reserves, and retired service members’ children ages 9-18.The center offers daily activities such as cooking, gardening and drone club in addition to open recreation.

For child and staff safety, some COVID-19 protocols will remain in place - all staff and participants are required to wear masks and social distance, whenever possible.

Soccer registration for ages 5-18 begins June 7 for an abbreviated season running from July 12- August 13.

Dance classes for ages 3-18 will begin June 15.

To register for the youth center, interested parties will return a completed registration packet with proof of current immunizations and attend an orientation offered every other week. Registration packets can be picked up and returned to 1102 Pershing Ave., Fort Eustis, Va.

Once these steps are complete, the participant(s) can start the next day.

The center is also accommodating of youth with special needs. Parent(s) and/or guardian(s) will meet with the inclusion action team to assess needs for additional assistance or help for physical, emotional and/or behavioral needs.

“We rarely turn away any child, the only reason we would is if we really could not meet that [individual’s] need.” explains Hogan. “We are very inclusionary, we try to get all the kids in.”

Hogan says the youth programs team is excited to support the children after a long hiatus and is thankful for the support she received from leadership to re-open youth programs.

“I really am grateful for my leadership,” Hogan acknowledged. “They listened when we said, ‘our children need socialization, there are developmental milestones that they are missing, they're isolated, they are becoming more depressed’, we're concerned about their mental health.”

Hogan hopes the addition of programs throughout the summer will give the children a sense of normalcy and allow his team to provide the services they’ve had to postpone for over a year.

 “We are starting to get back to what we do best,” said Hogan “And what we do best is service our children and our youth.”

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