SKIES Unlimited instills lifelong learning

Children enrolled in a SKIES dance class look to the stars as they twirl across the stage during a dance recital. (File photo)

With a wide variety of classes ranging from guitar, tap dancing and gymnastics to martial arts and technology, SKIES Unlimited Instructional Program offers youths the opportunity to grow socially and develop life skills outside of the traditional classroom.

“SKIES Unlimited allows youth to explore a new skill, to pursue and nurture personal interest, interact socially with others, and [engage in] extracurricular activities that encourage the development of skills and interests not fully nurtured during the school day,” said Karen Surratt, instructional program specialist for SKIES.

“Some of the skills learned can range from social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills through the various activities such as taekwondo, music, dance and tumbling.”

Fort Meade SKIES — School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills — is offered to ages 3 to 18 throughout the year by Child and Youth Services.

Surratt said the skills taught lead not only to a healthier self-esteem, but higher aspirations in academics and in the pursuit of long-term life skills that add to a child’s confidence when making future choices in life.

“The personal qualities gained in programs like the SKIES Unlimited instructional program motivate students to gain a better sense of self-worth, leadership skills, confidence and a stronger determination to try other interests and creative pursuits,” Surratt said.

SKIES offers a wide range of classes through its various schools: School of Academic Skills, Mentoring and Intervention; School of Sports, Fitness & Health; School of Arts, Recreation & Leisure; and the School of Life Skills, Citizenship & Leadership.

The classes are designed to complement, expand and support the academic, life skills and athletic experiences that participants have within other CYS programs.

Various camps, classes and special events are also offered during the year. They include driver’s education, piano, a baby-sitter course and SAT prep classes.

Classes are taught by CYS staffers and contracted instructors in a variety of settings, which may include Fort Meade’s Child Development Centers, the School Age Care Center and Anne Arundel County Public Schools on post.

SKIES is available to children of eligible DoD patrons. Fees are based on their total family income. Retirees’ eligibility is limited to the use of SKIES, CYS, and Sports and Fitness programs. Fees are not based on total family income.

Parents can enroll their children at Parent Central Services located at 1900 Reece Road.

Editor’s note: For enrollment information, call Parent Central Services at 301-677-1149 or 301-677-1156.

Office hours are: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; the third Wednesday of the month from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.; and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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