Activities offered during furlough Fridays[MIGRATE]

By Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis | November 06, 2009

Military families have a variety of options to keep their children occupied during furlough Fridays aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Marine Corps Community Services and the MCB Hawaii school liaison compiled various activities including educational and recreational programs to supplement the new four-day school week.

Furlough Fridays are a financial solution to Hawaii’s budget crisis. The fiscal driven initiative began Oct. 23 and is expected to continue throughout the school year effectively reducing the 180 mandated school days to approximately 145 days of instruction including holidays and teacher workshops.

With extra days off parents are going to seek other ways to support their children’s perpetual education, said Debbie Bookatz, marketing director, MCCS.

Some of the programs offered include activities such as organized sports, as well as workshops to build trade skills.

“Parents are able to pick and choose from different programs to support their child’s education,” she added. “Right now we’re still coming up with a more comprehensive selection and we’d like to start including parents in the process to better meet their needs.

“I think the programs we offer definitely round out children’s [and teens’,] spectrum of knowledge. Although the furlough Fridays take away from school hours, we’re trying to turn this into a positive situation.”

Adjustments and fine-tuning are expected as parents and MCCS expand the programs, reallocating funding and resources as necessary, said Amy Madsen, school liaison, MCB Hawaii.

Activities range from “Fantastic Fridays Reading Program” at the base library from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. for kindergarten through sixth grade children, and a free basic skills automotive workshop for ages 8 to 18.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to anticipate the needs of families,” she said.

For more information, contact Amy Madsen at 257-8826 or visit