Familiar face returns to Youth Services and team is ready to re-ignite program
The Youth Services (YS) program at Yuma Proving Ground suffered like many things during and after COVID. While the program did not stop providing services, the services were limited, and the enrollment was low. The teen program was virtually nonexistent.
In the recent months, the YS team has been moving forward to bring the services it provided pre-pandemic. Garrison leadership brought back a familiar face as well. Those who have used YS services might recognize Sommer Cloinger who served as the YS Director from August 2017 to November 2020.
“It was great to see the community and it was great to see my kids,” said Cloinger. “They went from being kinders and first graders to now third, fourth and fifth graders. And my teens who were just coming into fifth and six grade, some are driving, and some are taller than me.”
In addition to Cloinger’s rehiring, in mid-September Meghaan Flood filled the newly created YS Assistant Director position. This allowed the YS program to move out of the Child Development Center facility and back into the original YS building. Together the ladies are rebuilding their team by adding two new positions and programs such as the teen
program. If the first teen event is an indication of its success, they are going to have a full house.
“Just in my first week we had about 15 new teen enrollments. Twenty-two middle school and teens showed up to the recent New Year’s ever party,” tells Cloinger, “I don’t think I even had that many
when I ran just middle school and teens events.”
Many might not beware that the teen program is provided by YS for free to kids in sixth grade or higher. Their visit includes food, snacks, games, and transportation from Ron Watson School if needed. For their first visit teens do not need to be enrolled. If they want to continue to attend, they can selfenroll, and staff will then verify their information with their parents or guardians.
Flood who is a former science teacher looks forward to providing an outlet for teens.
“I am excited to build a program where they feel safe, have a place to hangout, a place that is theirs, where they can have experiences to help their teen years. We need to provide them with a place to do that especially with YPG being so small.”
Cloinger urges parents of school aged kids and teens to actively keep an eye out for emails and Facebook posts about upcoming events.
They want to partner up with YPG community services such as the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program, Desert Oasis Housing, and other community programs to provide fun for the community.
“We are excited for the future and have lot of stuff planned. We have our hands in a lot of pots right now, but we are excited to build this community and YS back up,” said Cloinger.
Additional goals the YS team include, increasing enrollment, bringing back field trips and camps, expanding the home school P.E. program to younger non-school aged kids and building a team of sport coaches for the sports program.