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Kid's beat: RAF Mildenhall youth center offers cure for summertime blues

Averi Martin performs a handstand with a little help from gymnastics instructor, Josie Wilkes. (U.S. Air Force photo be Joe Strouth)

Averi Martin performs a handstand with a little help from gymnastics instructor, Josie Wilkes. (U.S. Air Force photo be Joe Strouth)

Kids get ready to run during a game of dodgeball at the RAF Mildenhall Youth Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joe Strouth)

Kids get ready to run during a game of dodgeball at the RAF Mildenhall Youth Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joe Strouth)

Michelle Ackley performs her daily duties as a Desk Clerk at the RAF Mildenhall Youth Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tyrona Pearsall)

Michelle Ackley performs her daily duties as a Desk Clerk at the RAF Mildenhall Youth Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tyrona Pearsall)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- What to know: The Youth Center is open from 6:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. every weekday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. 

With the RAF Mildenhall Youth Center to help fill summer hours, kids here don't have to be bored this summer.
With anywhere from 250 to 350 kids visiting the center every day, there's always someone to talk to or hang out with. Not to mention all the great activities that the center offers.
The Marauder Online recently interviewed Joan Goode, who has been the Youth Director for 17 years. 

Marauder Online: What activities are there for kids at the Mildenhall Youth Center? 

Joan Goode:
Well, we have sports, camps, instructional classes and we even have special guests who come to talk to the kids occasionally.
Some of the offered activities, like sports and field trips, take place outside the Youth Center. 

We introduce new activities on a regular basis, and we let the kids have a lot of input on what we plan. Every once in a while, we survey the kids to see what they like and dislike as well as what things they'd like in the future. 

Just recently we did a survey and almost all of the kids wanted the new Nintendo Wii, so we've just ordered three of those.


Marauder Online: Are there any requirements that the children must fulfill before taking part in the activities? 

Joan Goode:
Yes, all children must meet the age criteria for the different activities. Also, if they're taking part in sports, they must have a recent physical on file. 

The Youth Center has two billiards, a Dance Euromix 2 game, and multiple game consoles. They also have a foosball table, a ping-pong table, basketball hoops, and an indoor rock climbing wall. 

There are 35 to 40 staff members present during the summer and 25 to 35 during the school year to ensure a safe environment. 

About the author: Joe Strouth is 13, and the son of Master Sgt. Douglas and Tami Strouth. He is helping out at the 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office as a participant in the Youth Employment Skills program.