News: Youth pavilions receive commendation
Story by Cpl. Charles Clark
CAMP LEJUNE, N.C. - After a year-long journey, Marine Corps Community Services’ employees and volunteers at the Stone Street and Tarawa Terrace Youth Pavilions received recognition from the Council of Accreditation, a leading international accreditation organization.
More than 40 Marine Corps Community Services employees and volunteers witnessed Patrick Larkin, MCCS youth activities director, receive a Letter of Commendation from Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Gorry, Marine Corps Installations East commanding general, for the Stone Street and Tarawa Terrace Youth Pavilions successful accreditation during a ceremony April 30 at the Stone Street Youth Pavilion basketball courts.
“Our programs strive to be the best in the Corps,” said Larkin. “The higher the quality of care, the safer and more engaged our youth and children are. Parents, who are mostly active-duty service men and women, are confident their children are safe, secure and have their needs met: physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially.”
Becoming accredited means the youth pavilions and its employees are recognized as a safe environment for children to relax, have fun and work toward bettering themselves.
Although the pavilions were accredited for four years through the National Afterschool Association, a nationally accreditation organization, the Council of Accreditation’s standards are higher than average, which meant the pavilions staff had to step up their game by demonstrating how their programs met the new standards.
The families who use the pavilions’ resources and the pavilions’ staff completed approximately 300 digital surveys the council uses in the deliberation process. The council gathered all the information from the pavilions’ documented successes in the needed categories as well as the submitted surveys to figure out if the pavilions should be accredited.
Larkin said the MCCS employees and volunteers had minimal challenges while seeking accreditation because of their training and the support the installation command provided.
“It is a true team effort and when everyone did their part, it was seamless,” said Larkin. “We have reached a great milestone and we must keep focused on continually improving the quality of care for our families.”
“Meeting the standards and proving they have been met over the years are significant accomplishments and a testament to the high quality of care the youth pavilions have available for the community,” continued Larkin. “Families do not need to search off of the installation to meet their child care needs or worry about the quality of care given.”
Avoiding complacency after achieving this plateau is the only obstacle in the way, Larkin added.
“The goal is to be the best school age care program in the Corps and eventually the Department of Defense,” Larkin said. “By recruiting the right people at the right time, evaluating and evolving programs to meet the community needs and building community relationships we will achieve the goals ahead.”
The Council of Accreditation is headquartered in New York, NY.
For more information about the Stone Street and Tarawa Terrace Youth Pavilions, call 450-0553/0554/0555.