Maxwell Youth Center offers instructional classes

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Pretty little girls in pink ballet shoes "tippy-toeing" in circles and gracefully holding onto imaginary beach balls in a beginning dance class; an excited 5 year old taking his second piano lesson and learning where the middle "C" key is; and five rows of children learning the stance and how to hold their hands when they punch in a beginning Tae Kwon Do class.

These are the sights and sounds of the instructional classes offered at the Maxwell Youth Center each week Tuesday through Friday.

Dance teacher Sharon Payne teaches three hours of tap, ballet, jazz and tumbling on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Maxwell Youth Center. The music is fun and lively, which brings out the giggles from students. Ms. Payne has been teaching on Maxwell and Gunter for several years. She presents a dance recital at the end of the each year, so all of her students will be able to show family and friends what they have learned.

Piano teacher Judy Dienst teaches Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning at 3:30 p.m. Beginning through advanced students receive individual lessons. Mrs. Dienst is teaching at Maxwell for the first time while her husband attends Air War College. She previously taught at Randolph AFB.

"I teach all levels of students and adults," she said. "Often, adults who took piano when they were young and drifted away from i, are now interested in picking it back up for their own enjoyment and just need help to get started again.

"Playing piano is so much easier now with the portable keyboards and digital pianos available for reasonable costs. You don't need a huge space for a piano anymore."

A popular third activity is Taekwondo on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Omar Rodriguez, a student of Tae Kwon Do for about 20 years, has been teaching Tae Kwon Do in the tri-county area for several years. Mr. Rodriguez, a fourth degree Black Belt, is a certified instructor as well as a National Judge with the American Taekwondo Association. He is also a certified instructor in the Modern Army Combatives Program and Air Force Combatives Program.

"Adults are welcome to take the class with their children," Mr. Rodrizuez said. "We do have plans to expand the program to include a separate class for teens/adults in the near future."

In addition to the special instructional classes in which families can enroll their children, Maxwell offers activities that enable youth to receive volunteer instructional information. Fit Factor, Triple Play and 4-H activities give youth the opportunity to earn points all month for participation in these and other fitness activities at the center and at home.

Power Hour and Study Hall happens each day at 3 p.m. for pre-teens and teens. This time offers educational ways to earn levels of achievement and improvement as youth complete their homework, receive tutoring assistance, read for enjoyment or write stories, poems or articles of interest for the "NewsCLUBpaper."

For more information on these instructional classes or other activities at the Maxwell Youth Center, call 953-6292.