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Youth program activities help JBSA-Randolph children grow

| Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | July 15, 2015

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —

When children at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph need a place to go to stay busy and healthy, the Randolph Youth Center is the place to be, providing year-round activities for children from kindergarten to high school.

The center is home to hundreds of programs and activities for ages 5 to 18. JBSA-Randolph Youth Programs include sports camps, instructional classes and clubs.

Randolph Youth Programs provide activities for children in a safe environment that keep them active and healthy, teach life skills, emphasize community service and involve families, Andre Black, JBSA-Randolph Youth Programs coordinator, said.

“The amount of care they are getting here and the life experiences they are gaining is amazing,” Black said. “We develop young people.”

More than 500 children are involved in activities and programs provided by Randolph Youth Programs each year.

Clubs and activities include science, sewing, karaoke, photography, and cooking, as well as clubs that promote leadership skills and character and career development and healthy lifestyles.  Instructional classes include piano, guitar, percussion, band, orchestra, dance, ballet, martial arts and gymnastics.

Randolph Youth Programs adheres to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth Development Strategy, which emphasizes activities that develop self-esteem and citizenship in youth, according to Black. The youth center is also affiliated with 4-H, the largest youth development organization in the U.S. that focuses its programs on arts, science, fitness and life skills.

Alex Pflanz, 10, has participated in several activities and clubs at the Randolph Youth Center during the last four years. She is currently enrolled in the Image Makers photography class.

“They do a lot of activities,” Pflanz said. “I really enjoy it because they take care of me while my parents are at work. I have a lot of fun.”

Pflanz said her favorite activity at the youth center was being involved in the Torch Club, a leadership and service club affiliated with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, because she was able to serve as vice president.

She enjoys the Image Makers class because she’s been able to take photos and create a scrapbook. One of her photos of a pink rose was entered into the Boys & Girls Club Image Makers regional contest.

Sports leagues for children 5 to 18 include flag football, volleyball, basketball and cheerleading in the fall and T-ball, softball, baseball and coach-pitch baseball in the spring.

Christopher Martinez, 11, said he likes coming to the youth center to spend time with his friends by playing outside and in the gym. He also likes interacting with counselors at the youth center.

“The counselors are really fun,” Martinez said. “They play games with us and tell jokes.”

Parents and families are also included in programs at the youth center.  Famaganza, an annual event that includes entertainment, food and information booths is one of the examples. Another example is “Donuts with Dad.” During this event, 40 dads and their children were treated to donuts and coffee and a few games of basketball.

Children in the Randolph Youth Programs are also active in community service projects and activities. Typical community service this past year included Carol Ann’s Home Assisted Living in San Antonio and a visit to the Houston MD Anderson Cancer Center. The children helped raise funds to donate and deliver $250 worth of headgear and scarves to the patients.

For children who need something to do before and after school, the center’s School-Age Program offers before- and after-school day activities for children 5 to 12 years of age Monday through Friday, from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m.  and 3 to 5:45 p.m.

The youth center gym is open to children 9 to 18 years of age Monday through Thursday, 3 to 7 p.m., Friday, 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For details on Randolph Youth Programs, call 652-3298, go to http://www.myjbsa-fss-mwr.com, or stop by the Randolph Youth Center, Bldg. 585.