The Community Action Committee for Fort Liberty met for its monthly meeting Wednesday morning. The meetings are aimed to convey information from ther post's leadership to those living and working on post, as well as for people to talk with those leaders about any issues they are concerned about.
Here’s what the committee discussed:
Child care services may expand
A new issue brought up in the meeting was a possible return of evening and weekend hours at Chay Youth Center, which provides activities for kids and teens, typically in middle and high school, as well as free programs for students. The facility has a full-size gymnasium with a 20-foot climbing wall, a gaming lounge, an outdoor pool table and computers.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Chay Youth Center was open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and from 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. These expanded hours were beneficial for parents who worked later shifts. Now, the center is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and closed on the weekend.
“We are looking at the extended hours for Friday night, expanding them, looking at that initially first, and working our way onto Saturday,” said Margaret Lilly, chief of child and youth services.
Lilly was asked about the hourly program for day care, which was cut during the pandemic.
“We have a desire for all of our programs, but we need staff,” she said. “And the hourly was a result of the staff shortage. But with the increase of that, we will see additional hours within our program.”
Lilly noted onboarding is trending upward. At a hiring event earlier this week, 42 child and youth program assistants were added, a trend she hopes to see grow.
One ongoing issue is the lack of sensory-friendly classrooms within CYS’ child development centers. As of March, there are nearly 5,000 families enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program at Fort Liberty, the highest for any military installation, according to the garrison command team.
The directorate of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office reported that there is lack of child care to support children that has become a retention issue for soldiers and child-care personnel.
CYS is looking at creating more sensory-friendly classrooms with a reduced ratio on Fort Liberty. It has addressed that issue with Installation Management Command headquarters in San Antonio but has yet to receive a response.
Neighborhood community mayors return
Now that many organizations are moving past COVID restrictions, Wilcox says, it’s time to bring back community mayors for neighborhoods on post.
Each Fort Liberty neighborhood will be represented by a community mayor selected by the garrison commander.
Each mayor will undergo training from the Army Residential Communities Initiative Team team, including information on regulations, housing policies, customer service, and conflict resolution.
Residents of those neighborhoods will be able to reach out to the mayors about any concerns they have, and the mayors will then talk to Corvias and Fort Liberty leadership about resolving those issues. The mayors work on a voluntary basis.
Eight mayors were announced during the meeting. Kayti Gutierrez will represent Hammond Hills, Brianna Dylla will represent Ardennes/Bataan, Erica Marion will represent Casablanca, Byron Young will represent Corregidor, Adrienne Gilstrap will represent Linden Oaks Lodge, Veronica Pujol will represent Nijmegen, Carolina Adcock will represent Normandy/Bastogne, and Hailey Snodgrass will represent Pope.
There are still vacancies for the Linden Oaks Clubhouse, Ste Mere Eglise, and Randolph Pointe neighborhoods.
Multiple 911 system outages reported
Emergency Services staff confirmed a number of 911 center outages on post but said the outages may have been caused by a fiber cut. The outages affected calls using hardwired telephones. according to Deputy Director Dean DeMarks.
“If you call 911 from a hard line and you get a constant busy signal, call via your cellphone,” DeMark said. “We are in the process of getting systems upgraded here in the near future.”
DeMark also said that 911 callers should tell the center that they are on Fort Liberty because the call could be forwarded to the city of Fayetteville or Cumberland County, depending on where the caller is on post.
The October meeting of the Community Action Committee has not been scheduled. Meetings are open to the Fort Liberty community and are typically held at the Soldier and Family Readiness Group Center.