Fort Hood Sentinel
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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014  08:08:42 PM

Junior police and fire: Program teaches Fort Hood kids teamwork

Email   Print   Share By Rachel Parks, Sentinel Staff
August 5, 2010 | Living
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Elijah Casson swings from one rope to another as he crosses a water obstacle. The junior fire and junior police sports and wellness program is new this year. Activities are a mix of sports and building life skills. Rachel Parks, Sentinel Staff
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Alyandra Granado walks across the completed bridge that her team constructed while Spec. Daniel Whitfield supervises. The kids learned about teamwork in the classroom before putting the ideas into practice on the leadership reaction course July 29.
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After helping his team build a bridge spanning a water obstacle, Austin Caylor tests out the structure. The bridge held and the team crossed to the other side.
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Austin Caylor reaches for a chain as he falls into a water obstacle during the leadership reaction course on Fort Hood. About 14 kids took part in the teamwork exercise.
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Austin Caylor gets soaked hanging on to a rope while crossing a water obstacle, one of the many challenges to learn the importance of teamwork and communication.
With encouraging shouts and helping hands, members of the junior fire and junior police sports and wellness program took on a challenge usually reserved for members of the military. A group of 14 kids used teamwork and problem solving skills to conquer the Leadership Reaction Course on July 29.

The pilot program is a partnership between the Directorate of Emergency Services and Child, Youth and School Services. The curriculum is a mixture of learning and building life skills, and sports.

Mentored by members of the police and fire departments, the group of kids is learning valuable life skills, including teamwork, how to prevent bullying and fire safety. The kids also take part in physical activities ranging from baseball to basketball to the obstacle course on which they recently found themselves.

Initially the kids were wary, especially of the green water under most of the obstacles. But as the day went on they became more confident and encouraging as they put the idea of teamwork into practice.

Bruce Rutledge, a sergeant with School Based Law Enforcement, said he was happy to take part in the event. He put the program together with the help of Capt. Jonathan Caylor, the Community Police supervisor with DES, and Janelle Casson, director of Youth Sports at CYSS.

“We’re already really active in the schools but our deputy director (Charles Medley) wanted to give kids a constructive way to spend time this summer and wanted the DES more involved in youth activities,” he said.

So Rutledge, Caylor and Casson sat down and came up with a sports-based program which includes mentorship.

Rutledge said the kids really enjoy the program.

“It’s awesome. Every time we practice something or give a class they’re really active. They’re always asking when they can come back,” he said.

Jeff Brinson, a firefighter at Fort Hood, agreed with Rutledge.

“We give kids a sense of leadership and teach them to work together. This is a great opportunity to learn life skills. The police teach about bullying and the firefighters teach house safety, but the main point is teambuilding and giving them something they can take home,” he added.

Kimberly Shutts, 9, said. “My favorite part was where we had to put the logs across the water. I want to do it again.”

Shutts may get her wish. Caylor said he’s hopeful the program will expand with another session in the fall.
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