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Youth Center offers entertaining, educational options

Numerous children sit around blue tables with a man in a red shirt demonstrates an educational bottle rocket fueled with water and baking soda.

Children from the Youth Center watch educational bottle rocket explode April 11, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The Youth Center hosted a weeklong science camp where the children learned a different science project every day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A  young child with a long black braid in the front of her head and long black hair pulled into a ponytail puts together a blue bottle on the ground.

Lyric Ward, Youth Center School Age Program student, creates an educational bottle rocket April 11, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The School Age Program is for children 5- to 12-years old before and after school to learn and experience a variety of activities such as science camp, open-mic nights and field trips to nature preservations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

Three young girls with black hair reach into a white bucket to fill small colored bottles with water.

(From left) Dionna Alexander and Avianna Chester, Youth Center School Age Program students, fill their Alka-Seltzer bottle rockets with water April 11, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Dionna and Avianna participated in a science camp to learn kid-friendly science projects as an after-school activity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Youth Center programs offer children the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities before and after school at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

The Youth Center offers the School Age Program for children 5- to 12-years old before and after school, and the Open Recreation Program for children 9- to 18-years old after school.

Anybody, even non-service members, with access onto LRAFB can enroll their children in these programs. The programs get children involved in a variety of activities such as science camp, golf camp, open-mic nights and field trips to nature preservations.

“We base our activities on what the kids want,” said Otis Williams, 19th Force Support Squadron youth programmer. “I try to get their input on the programs so they reflect the kids’ interests.”

Currently, the Youth Center is hosting a camp for children to experience science hands-on. During the weeklong activity, children created slime, educational bottle rockets and learn about other child friendly science projects.

In addition to scholastic activities, the Youth Center has a basketball program where the children focus on enhancing their skills instead of winning the game. Airmen volunteer their time to coach the teams and help the children improve their skills.

“Some Airmen come and mentor the kids,” Williams said. “They talk to them about their military career, which creates a connection between the service members and youth.”

The Youth Center has other volunteer opportunities, too. In order to volunteer, interested individuals should call the Youth Center for information.

 “Having service members come in and talk about their jobs helps kids with aspirations of a military career learn about different military jobs,” Williams said. “Our key thing is to help the kids build character and prepare them for the real world in addition to what they’re taught at home by their parents,” Williams said.

For more information, contact the Youth Center at (501) 987-6355.

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