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Cumberland Co., Ft. Bragg Join Forces for Kids

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Kids flip for a chance to run the obstacle course at Fort Bragg.
FAYETTEVILLE — Children growing up these days can easilyend up on the wrong path. That's why Cumberland County schools and FortBragg are teaming up to steer students in the right direction.

In the past, Fort Bragg has hosted camps for kids who are at-risk, but this program is a little different. It will take in one group of kidsevery semester and work with that group only. The children are in middleschool and the idea is to catch and help them early.

About 100 students from Cumberland County schools trade in their booksfor some tough training, army style. These at-risk seventh graders spendthe day getting physical at Fort Bragg. It's hard work, it's fun, andit's a learning experience.

The 65-foot rapelling tower proves to be the biggest test. As thechildren scale downward, their self-confidence climbs.Student Jeffery Blevins says he found out he could do more than hethought.

By overcoming such obstacles the students are building skills that willhelp them tackle life's obstacles.

Student Jennifer McDaniel says she had good experiences.

Student Jermarl Epps feels more like a man for having his day on theobstacle course.

About 50 COSCOM soldiers mixed commands with words of encouragement,trying to help these kids be all they can be. First Lt. Cindy Kanis saysthese kids need positive role models. The Army fosters a sense ofteamwork and competition.

Each month a group will spend one day at Fort Bragg. Next semester, theCumberland County middle schools will pick out another group of kids andsend them off to training.

Photographer:GilHollingsworthandKerrieHudzinski

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