Child and Youth Services closing Feb. 14 for staff development

The Child and Youth Services staff members see a better way ahead to serve children and their parents.

They’re devoting Feb. 14 to their annual conference, “Perfect Vision 2020: Your Future Coming into Focus.” The full day of training is from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Community Activity Center, building 3711 on Patton Road.

“This is happening because we want to build team morale. We want to educate our staff with new best practices,” Cherie Cain, program operations specialist at Child and Youth Services, said.

All CYS centers will be closed that day and there will be no bus transportation. This includes the Goss and Mills Road Child Development Centers, the School Age Center, the Youth Center, Parent Central Services, the Youth Sports Office, and the Child and Youth Services main office.

Parents need to find alternate child care for Feb. 14. “And that’s in order to train our staff to take better care of their children,” Cain said. “It’s really to benefit their children and our centers.”

Child and Youth Services, led by coordinator Andre Terry, is doing the training for its more than 160 workers. They’re conducting and planning it but they’re also bringing in people from the Boys & Girls Club of America, Early Learning Coalition, and 4-H. Some instructors are from Redstone Arsenal and two are from IMCOM-Sustainment.

They have invited members of outside child care agencies including Premier Preschools, La Petite Academy, Primrose School of Madison, the Early Learning Center at University of Alabama in Huntsville, KinderCare, and the early education department at Alabama A&M University. Maxwell Air Force Base is sending workers from its school age center.

Cain remembers the November 2017 conference which happened two weeks after she arrived from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, as the school liaison officer. She became the program operations specialist in March 2019.

“It was exciting,” she said of the conference. “It was scary because I didn’t know anybody really. But it was really nice to see the camaraderie and excitement of the other staff members. The spark in their eyes about what they were doing at work and how they can implement what they just learned.”

Angela Lockett, a child and youth program assistant, serves as infant lead teacher at the Mills Road Child Development Center.

“I’m extremely excited about the conference that our very own Redstone CYS is hosting, entitled a Perfect Vision 2020: Your Future Coming into Focus,” Lockett said. “The title is enough to get me pumped. We are working with our future each and every day, therefore our focus must have clarity and clear vision to make sure we are doing our job to the absolute best of our ability. What better way to ascertain more knowledge, learn different ways of doing things, and to have new perspective on our day-to-day focus than to share it and learn from our fellow co-workers/CYPAs. As the old saying goes, ‘Iron sharpens iron.’”

Some of the teachers include employees from each of the centers. Among the wide variety of conference topics are: Career advancement, how to move up; how to work with children with behaviors and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; team building; stimulating youth with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM; diversity in the classroom; and physical fitness and mental agility.

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