Fort Bragg/Fayetteville, North Carolina
Ft. Bragg is the largest US Army base by population and is a high operation tempo installation, which means that families deal with their soldiers deploying rapidly and often. Despite an obvious focus on combat and soldier readiness, Ft. Bragg also focuses on family readiness. This is reflected by Ft. Bragg’s Commander’s seven top priorities, which include family and community support. Ft. Bragg continuously provides programs and opportunities for the youth living in the community to thrive. Some programs Ft. Bragg offers include child care, before and after -school care, youth recreation and sports, instructional activities, school and mobile counselors. This is the second time Fort Bragg/Fayetteville has been a 100 Best winner.
Ft. Bragg fully funds programs for Child, Youth and School Services; Army Family Covenant also provides additional monetary support to provide programs and services at a reduced or no cost to families. Youth are offered job opportunities through the county's Workforce Development program. The program partners with local governmental agencies and businesses to give youth the ability to learn job skills. The Leadership Fayetteville Youth Academy is a nine-month program run by the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Cumberland County Schools. Economic development, health and medicine, government and media are among the topics the program explores.
Schools in Fayetteville and Cumberland County have student body elected officials who present student concerns to principals and advisors to make their schools better. Schools want to receive input on what faculty and staff can do to make their school experience more enjoyable. On Ft. Bragg, the most vulnerable young people are those whose parents are deployed. The US Army ensures that a family plan is always in place for all soldiers deploying who may be leaving children behind. The Army partners with several organizations to provide training for the caring adults to identify and provide resources for children who may be experiencing stressors due to a parent’s deployment. Fort Bragg also offers reintegration training, parent classes and time for the family to readjust when a soldier returns home.
A program called Living in the New Normal enables community members to discuss the issues surrounding military deployment and its resulting stressors. This community partnership creates an impetus for home front efforts to enhance relevant community initiatives. Also, the Military Child Task Force and the Secondary Education Transition Study Local Action Plan allow community members to discuss and identify issues affecting Military children and create a local action plan outlining what Ft. Bragg and local schools can do.