About 40 young children and teens gather at the Roseburg Salvation Army on Tuesday afternoons to take part in an array of after-school programs.

Kids as young as three, so long as they are potty trained, can participate in character-building classes, band, guitar, piano and ukulele lessons. This year, Captain Kristy Church has added Korean fan dancing to the list of activities.

“Over the summer, for one of my classes, I chose to do fan dance,” said Church. “It was pretty well received, so we decided to create the fan dance class. Right now it is small, not a lot of people know about it, but we are hoping to max at 10 or 11 students.”

Character-building takes the form of five different troop classes based on age and gender, although kids can participate in the classes without joining the troops. Much like Boy or Girl Scouts, members earn badges as they master different skills and traits. Moonbeams, the youngest class, learn things like colors, manners, animals and nature. Groups build from there, with boys moving to Explorers and Rangers and girls continuing on to Sunbeams and Girl Guards. As members grow, so do the skills being taught. Once proficient, badges are rewarded.

The Salvation Army has three bus routes throughout Roseburg, Sutherlin, Winston, Green, Melrose and Wilbur that allow them to pick up students from schools with parent permission. Schoolchildren are provided homework help from a volunteer with a background in education. Then, the group breaks into different classes to pursue their various endeavors.

“Anytime anyone wants to join, we are open,” Church said.

After-school programs have been held by the church for years. They were held on different nights for different programs. The first change Church and her husband made when they moved here the summer of 2016, they decided to consolidate activities to one night.

Anyone can join at any time so long as a parent or guardian completely the required paperwork. All programs, including trips some of the groups might make, are free to participants. There is currently no limit to the amount of children welcome to the programs. That might change, if there are not enough adult volunteers to lead classes. Volunteers are also needed to assist and grow the programs.

“If we can get someone who is passionate about education, children, or about music, we would love to have them,” Church said. “They just have to go through our background checks. We take volunteers for all the programs we have; we try to find out what their interest are and what time frame they have.”

The Youth Outreach program begins each year with the new school year. The Salvation Army takes a break in late November for their holiday kettlers, then continue in the new year through the end of school. Visit the Roseburg Salvation Army for more information.

“Anyone who wants to come and anyone who needs help with homework is welcome,” said Church. “Even if you don’t have homework, we have different educational options.”

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is a community reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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