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Our Opinion: Moving the kids

June 27, 2001

The lazy, hazy and unbearably hot days of summer are in full effect, as is the summer vacation season for thousands upon thousands of Valley children. And as is often the case, Valley parents are forced to hear the incessant complaints — sometimes whining — about boredom, which to most adults is as irritating as nails on a chalkboard.

However, by next week, when recreation departments throughout the Valley have their summer rec programs in full swing, there will be no excuse for such statements as "Mom, there's nothing to do."

This summer's crop of rec programs is quite extensive. In years past, as local cities felt the sting associated with loss of utility taxes that went to funding many city general fund expenditures, more often than not the parks and rec department was hardest hit.

Over the past few years, cities for the most part have been able to recover and pump many more funds into rec programs, largely due to the realization that providing ample quality-of-life-enhancing amenities aimed at giving children fun and healthy activities provides for a better community.


Throughout the summer local municipalities will provide a bevy of healthful activities that will help keep kids off the couch and unglue their little eyes from the television.

The cornerstone of most rec activities will be swimming programs, whether open swims, swimming lessons or water aerobics and other aquatic exercise programs for adults as well as children.

Many larger local cities will provide free or low-cost use of their gymnasiums for sports such as basketball and volleyball. Or those operating the gymnasiums will just set out tables so kids can hang out with friends and play cards or board games.

One aspect of recreation programs we like to see is summer day camp, which provides arts, crafts and other activities for children. These camps not only entertain but, from what we've seen, educate and help children build interpersonal and life skills.

We encourage all Valley parents to utilize the many programs available in their respective cities. When such programs don't get the participation to justify general fund expenditures, these programs go bye-bye.

We would like to say good job to the cities that have truly made an effort to provide activities for youth. We're certain city officials now more than ever understand active and healthy youth will grow up to give back to their communities and be productive members of society.

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