Harrold Youth Center Virtual Programming ukulele class instructor Ron Meier and second chair Christy Allie, joined by her Labrador retriever Dixie-Grace, sing as they play the accompanying ukulele chords to "You Are My Sunshine" with class participants during the Zoom-based class July 14 at HYC. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Because of COVID-19 precautions, Harrold Youth Center has been closed since mid-spring, but there are several virtual programs being offered Monday through Thursday to keep sixth- through-12th-grade students engaged throughout the summer.

Ukulele second chair Christy Allie, joined by her Labrador retriever Dixie-Grace, and ukulele class instructor Ron Meier lead two 13-year-old participants in learning chords and practicing playing the instrument during the Zoom-based class July 14 at HYC. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


The idea for the virtual programs came about when Brenda Taxeras, Child and Youth Services program assistant, started posting four- to five-minute science, technology, engineering and math demonstrations on the Fort Leavenworth CYS Facebook page. After a few weeks, HYC staff decided it would be a good idea to provide sessions that were more interactive.


Now, programs include multiple interests such as fitness, photography, music, cooking, STEM, art and more.


“We tried to figure out what would work best and what were kind of our favorite things to do with the kids and the ones that got the biggest numbers,” said Christy Allie, HYC trainer. “We wanted to be able to get activities that we could provide kits for, too.”

Harrold Youth Center Virtual Programming ukulele class participants watch Christy Allie review chords with them during the Zoom meeting-based class July 14 at HYC. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


STEM, cooking and art include weekly activity kits that can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays at HYC.


All of the sessions are provided via videoteleconference, but before youth can participate, a code of conduct form, which explains the program and the platforms that will be used, must be signed by both the parent and the youth. Once the form is signed and turned in, Allie will e-mail the online links to join the interactive sessions.


Each e-mail comes with the message, “We don’t know when we will see each other in person, but we are here for you virtually.”


Michelle Eastburn, HYC director, said she hopes the virtual programs will continue when school starts if the current restrictions continue.

Harrold Youth Center Virtual Programming ukulele class instructor Ron Meier begins to play “Row Row Row Your Boat” as Christy Allie reviews chords with class participants during the Zoom-based class July 14 at HYC. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“The kids that we’re serving, it gives them something to do and an outlet, so I want to continue it even if we go back (to work) mission essential only,” Eastburn said. “I want to have that opportunity out there for the kids to at least come and see us and do some activities.”


Allie said HYC staff are open to new ideas for virtual programs, too.


“If there is something you would like to see us do, let us know because if there is any way at all that we can do it virtually, we don’t have any problem contacting somebody if we can’t do it in-house,” Allie said.


Weekly calendars for the programs are posted on the Harrold Youth Center Facebook page.
For more information or the code of conduct form, e-mail Allie at christy.l.rohfing-allie.naf@mail.mil or Eastburn at michelle.l.eastburn.civ@mail.mil.

Ukulele second chair Christy Allie, joined by her Labrador retriever Dixie-Grace, and ukulele class instructor Ron Meier lead two 13-year-old participants in learning chords and practicing playing the instrument during the Zoom-based class July 14 at HYC. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

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