Summer programs on and off base

by Jeana Coleman
Stripes Europe

Being stationed overseas does not mean that there is a lack of exciting, educational and entertaining summer activities for school-age kids. You’ll find great clubs, camps and classes both on and off base including Air Force and Armysponsored programs, Boy and Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, 4-H, the American Red Cross and more. Start planning now so you’ll know registration dates to get kids signed up and ready for a fun and adventurous summer of discovery.

American Red Cross

This valuable organization offers teens a great opportunity to make a difference in their military community through its youth volunteer program. The American Red Cross provides services to the Armed Forces with emergency communication services, blood drive assistance, military community support and health and safety service courses such as CPR, first aid and more. Want to get involved? Youth aged 14 and up (some positions require supervision) can apply. Search for your local Red Cross office on Facebook, and look for and click on “Volunteer Connection.” At “Volunteer Connection” you can see volunteer opportunities, start the volunteer application process and once you are a volunteer, you can connect with other youth volunteers. For more information about the American Red Cross, its services and volunteer program, visit

Boy Scouts of America

Founded more than 100 years ago, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a values-based youth development organization providing character-building programs designed to help promote healthy lifestyles while shaping scouts into good citizens and leaders of tomorrow. BSA provides units in every military community in Europe, as well as maintains three main summer camp programs in Germany, Switzerland and England, which provide camps for boys ages 7-20 and girls 14-20. Most units also offer a Cub Day Camp program each summer for ages 7-11.  To find units in other European communities or to learn more about the Boy Scouts, contact the Transatlantic Council #802 at DSN 633- 7760 CIV +39 (0)50-54-7760.

Girl Scouts of the USA

2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America (GSA). The organization’s mission is “to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” GS summer programming includes both day and residential camps with a variety of activities for different age groups. USA Girl Scouts Overseas-North Atlantic (USAGSONA) serves 37 committees in eight countries: Germany, the U.K., Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Turkey. Each committee has its own overseas committee chair who organizes and oversees local GS programming. To locate an overseas committee chair near you and get involved, visit For incoming families to the KMC, you can also contact the Kaiserslautern committee chair at

DODEA summer enrichment program

Each summer the Department of Defense Education Activity offers a four-week, half-day summer enrichment program as a non-remedial, supplemental extension. The program offers kids the opportunity to engage in themed activities to enrich their knowledge in the subjects of mathematics and language arts. The program is provided at no cost to DODEA families, but parents or sponsors must arrange for the student’s transportation to and from school, as well as provide meals. Contact your DODEA school administrative office for more information and current registration dates.

Force Support Squadroms and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs

The Force Support Squadrons (FSS) and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) offices provide a multitude of programs, camps and centers for kids of all ages, year-round. For detailed information on individual programming, contact your local FSS or MWR offices. Here is a rundown of average programs they’ll offer:

School age/youth programs

Kids ages 5-12 (MWR is grades 1-6) who are currently enrolled in school and are eligible family members of active duty, DOD or U.S. civilian personnel can take part in programs that include before and after-school care as well as camps during winter, spring and summer breaks. Through partnerships with groups such as National 4-H, Character Counts and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, these NAA-accredited programs are designed to complement, not duplicate school curriculum, while building character, confidence, self-esteem, and social and cognitive skills.

Youth programs

With the middle-school child in mind, grades 6-12, these centers provide a wide range of events and activities such as instructional classes in dance, theater, cooking, yoga, musical instruments, arts, martial arts and modeling, as well as sports programs such as baseball, softball, flag football, wrestling, cheer, golf, basketball, soccer and many more. The center also provides day camps during winter, spring and summer breaks that incorporate activities such as cooking, sports and water activities and even day trip adventures to cultural locales. Like the School Age Programs, a partnership with 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and others help provide activities that enrich and develop a youth’s character and other skills through fun activities.

Teen centers

A variety of activities ranging from video games, pool, ping pong, dances and lock-ins are offered at these facilities. You’ll also find great clubs like Leadership Development Club, Smart Girls, Passport to Manhood and individualized programs per center, such as photography, cooking, fine arts, drum line and more. Check with your local center to find out what individualized programs and monthly events they offer.

SKIES Unlimited & HIRED! apprenticeship programs

SKIES Unlimited is an MWR program that provides instructional classes for children and youth within each of the four schools: School of Life, School of Sports, School of Arts and School of Academics. Check with your local office for details of offered classes. HIRED! is also an MWR-sponsored workforce-preparation and apprenticeship program that places youths age 15-18 in paid positions with participating organizations within MWR operations. They’ll earn money, credit toward scholarships and learn about career fields such areas as marketing, graphic design, sports management, education, food service, outdoor recreation and more. Students must qualify and spaces are limited.

Don’t forget that there are also great youth programs at local community centers off base. Learn a new language at the community college, take a cooking class, find an arts or dance class, a hiking or cycling club and much more. Start exploring your options and plan now. Classes fill up in most of the above resources and spots are limited. So start contacting them now and plan ahead. Hope you and your kids have a great summer break!

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