Story and photos by Amanda Sullivan
Families braved the heat to take part in a children’s fishing derby held at Littlewood Pond, Saturday.
The derby was hosted by the Fort Leonard Wood Exceptional Family Member Program. Poles and bait were provided, and Soldiers from Company B, 169th Engineer Battalion, stood by to assist participating children in baiting their hooks and reeling in their catches.
EFMP is a Department of Defense program available throughout all branches and installations to assist families in meeting their medical, mental health, or educational needs.
The Fort Leonard Wood EFMP has several events scheduled throughout the summer. Events take place on the installation and throughout the surrounding communities.
“We call the summer events our ‘EFMP mini events,” said Amanda Spoon, Army Community Service EFMP systems navigator.
EFMP has planned all sorts of events this year. Events include the splash pad at Waynesville City Park, mini golf, EFMP t-shirt decorating, blow paint/crafts, horse barn fun, music group, barbecues, fishing derby and more.
EFMP events are designed to provide a supportive environment for family members enrolled in the program who may experience discomfort in traditional recreational settings.
Spoon said a lot of families will network, ask questions, and feel more supported during EFMP events. “Not everyone that attends our EFMP events are looking for support or services. However, it is one of the added benefits when you come with your family,” she said.
“We highly recommend and encourage all family members to participate during all of our summer and traditional EFMP events,” Spoon said.
“Children need adults to teach, guide, and support them as they grow and learn. Family members, volunteers, our supportive agencies all play an important role in guiding children’s behavior in positive, supportive, and age-appropriate ways.”
Spoon said anyone can attend and they do not check IDs or EFMP status.
For those who enjoy volunteering and working with children, EFMP volunteer opportunities are available.
“If you are an over enthusiastic individual who loves to swim, sing, dance golf, eat, among other things come see us,” Spoon said.
The office is in the Army Community Service building, Building 486, Replacement Avenue.