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New Fort Bragg Youth Center Helps Kids Adjust

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FAYETTEVILLE — It is no fun being moved around a lot if you are a child, but for military children, it is part of growing up.

There is now a new and improved place atFort Braggwhere kids can get help meeting new friends and adjusting to new surroundings.

The new youth center is four times as large as the old one, and now it is the biggest in theArmy's system. It is a kid's dream, and it also brings peace of mind to military parents.

Chad Ellerbroek, 9, knows what is is like to have different teammates from year to year. He has said "goodbye" to many of his friends who have moved away with their military parents.

"I can't visit them. I can't play with them anymore," said Ellerbroek.

The new youth center is a way to make it easier for the 35,000 kids at Fort Bragg to readjust and meet new friends.

The 64,000 square foot facility has just about everything including a music area, computer lab, two gyms, an indoor pool and everything a child could enjoy.

Ellerbroek's mom says the youth center will give him a sense of belonging. Fort Bragg's commander, who calls himself a military brat, agrees.

"They don't have that base of stability that oftentimes you have when you live in a hometown and you develop those recreational activities that you rely on. Having something like this youth activity center is extremely important for them," said LG. William Kernan.

The center will have programs for kids of all ages, and will be a safe place to have fun. That means a lot to soldiers who cannot always be with their children.

"I think this will better prepare parents and kids not only for the parents' mission but also taking care of the kids while the parents are out doing their mission for the United States," said 1st Sgt. Tui Nua.

The facility cost nearly $8 million to build. It was built with all non-appropriated funds.