Innovative professionals deliver a high quality of life at Carlisle Barracks

By Curt Keester    10 February 2020

A dinosaur named Carter, carried by his mother, Sgt. First Class Andrea Collier, receives a small treat from a costumed Belle, during the Child Development Center's Annual Halloween Parade, Oct. 31, 2019.

CARLISLE BARRACKS, Pa. (Feb. 10, 2020) – Armed with an arsenal of quality military and family programs, the staff of innovative professionals at Carlisle Barracks deliver a high quality of life to its military, family and retiree communities every day.

Nestled in the heart of Central Pennsylvania, Carlisle Barracks offers its community members the welcoming accommodations and comforts of a small town. And its central location, within a two-hour drive of Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore, offers all the attractions of a major metropolitan area.

"Our team of professionals provide the military and retiree communities throughout Pennsylvania a wide variety of child and youth programs, community support programs, recreation activities, and medical, commissary and exchange services," said Lt. Col. Courtney Short, Carlisle Barracks Garrison Commander. "We put a lot of care into our community, and it shows."

Carlisle Barracks Child and Youth Services delivers accredited childcare to service members and families of the greater Central Pennsylvania region and provides an array of activities to enhance the quality of life for children from infants to teens.

"We provide opportunities for family activities that bring us all together," said Melody Irwin, Child and Youth Services Coordinator for Carlisle Barracks and Letterkenny Army Depot. "Some of those activities include the annual CYS Halloween Parade, the Holiday Tree Lighting and Month of the Military Child activities and adventures."

"Our newest adventure involves opening at least two new Family Child Care homes on Carlisle Barracks to add another facet to our programming," said Irwin. "By doing so, CYS will be able to provide more childcare options and support to our families."

"We provide quality childcare," said Bruce Wooten, Director of Carlisle Barracks' Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation. "When Soldiers or family members go to work, they need to be relieved that they're receiving the best childcare possible, and there isn't any better childcare in the world. The Army is the number one childcare provider."

Recently the National Alliance for Youth Sports awarded the Carlisle Barracks CYS Youth Sports and Fitness Department the "Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider" designation for its team, individual, and instructional youth sports programs. The National Alliance for Youth Sports developed the "Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider" designation around the National Standards for Youth Sports as a way to recognize and promote youth sports organizations that make quality a priority.

The Army Community Services program on Carlisle Barracks delivers consistent and comprehensive prevention programs, life skills, crisis response, and education to maximize military and family adaptability and self-reliance.

"Leadership across the Army recognizes when military and families receive the support and education to address life stressors, there is a positive impact on family readiness which in turn impacts unit readiness," said Becky Myers, ACS Director. "As the Army prepares for the future, the needs of Soldiers and Families also will evolve, Total Army Strong principles give commanders flexibility to tailor ACS services delivery to meet the needs of Soldiers and Families in our community.

"One of our larger endeavors includes a Military Spouse Forum to be held on April 6," said Myers. "The forum will provide an educational opportunity by subject matter experts on topics such as Spouse Employment Preference, spouse re-licensure, the certification reimbursement program, Soldier for Life classes, DoD Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program, and the new Soldier and Family Readiness Policy changes."

"We also provide physical opportunities for Soldiers and families to maintain their fitness and fitness standards," Wooten said. "And on the side, we provide recreation, golf, bowling, and discounted tickets to local attractions, to improve morale."

Recently, MWR had a new golf clubhouse constructed that will open in April.

"It offers a pro-shop, locker room facilities, and the new 1757 Bar and Grille that will offer our community a casual dining experience," said Wooten. "The proceeds will be reinvested into the community and help to support military readiness through our community, service member and family support services," said Wooten.

The Carlisle Barracks team also assists the greater Pennsylvania military retiree community. Its Soldier for Life Military Retirement Services provides information and services to Soldiers, families, and retirees on their benefits and entitlements.

"Because of the quality and amount of services offered here, many retirees choose to move back to the Carlisle area after active duty to take advantage of the programs offered here," said Jack Lentz, Retirement Services Officer for Carlisle Barracks and its surrounding areas. "Our retirees enjoy the use of the medical, recreation, commissary and exchange facilities here."

Tom Easterly hands a Carlisle area military retiree a Vietnam Veteran's service pin during Carlisle Barracks Annual Military Retiree Appreciation Day, Oct. 5, 2019.