Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

The Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills Unlimited program is slowly adding classes again as organizations continue to navigate through COVID-19 restrictions.


“(SKIES) is about working with children and trying to develop their interests in a variety of areas,” said Shelley Anderson, SKIES director. “We need some semblance of normal, and even when a new normal is wearing a mask and socially distancing, it is doing things safely and showing them that it can be done.”


SKIES is currently offering small group and private swim lessons; various dance classes including pre-ballet, ballet, tap and jazz; jujutsu; and private music lessons including piano, guitar and ukulele.


Bobbi Towle said she took advantage of SKIES restarting programs to get her sons 5-year-old Caleb Towle, 6-year-old Luke Towle and 9-year-old Jack Towle into private swim lessons at Harney Sports Complex.


“We just love to be outdoors, and we want them to be safe and know at least how to get out of the water if they fall,” Towle said. “For the overall, we’re pretty pleased how the classes are run (in SKIES).


“The (swimming) instructor has done really well with the boys in helping them learn how to swim,” she said. “All the boys have really enjoyed coming and (taking) swimming.”
One of the newest programs that started Nov. 17 was jujutsu at Patch Community Center under the instruction of Frank Barry. During the first class, Barry taught the nine participants basic stances and moves in an adjusted touch-free environment to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.


Lt. Col. Felix Torres, Mission Command Center of Excellence chief information officer, said he and his wife acted fast to get their 5-year-old son Christopher in the class, which filled up quickly and now has a wait list.


“We’re just looking for things to get the kids more involved in stuff. He liked baseball when he did that (with SKIES), and he has been super excited about this,” Torres said. “I want him to be a little more interactive with the other kids and learn how to engage and socialize with other people.


“We have a family of six, so he’s at home with his three sisters all the time, so this was something different for him,” he said. “(SKIES) is inexpensive and gives the kids something to do, especially now with everything going on.”


Anderson said she hopes more classes can be added soon, with gymnastics next once an instructor is hired.


“We’ve got a phenomenal facility and equipment (for gymnastics),” Anderson said. “We just need an instructor.”


All participants must be registered with Child and Youth Services and classes are filled on a first-paid basis.


For more information, call Anderson at 684-3207 or (913) 704-7595 or visit https://leavenworth.armymwr.com/programs/skies-unlimited.

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