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Our Opinion: Start planning now

May 16, 2002

Summer is right around the corner and that means kids are going to have a lot of time on their hands. Now is the time for parents to start thinking about what options they have to keep their sons and daughters busy with fun and even educational activities.

There are a number of recreational opportunities in the Imperial Valley for youths. To find out what city recreation programs are going to be conducted, from swimming lessons to day camps, now is a good time to start making calls. Contact the recreation department in your city to see what services will be provided.

You also might want to start thinking about contacting schools to find out what summer school programs are going to be available. Kids might not want to attend summer school, but it can be helpful to make sure they focus on reading, writing and math, and we think it more fun being in school with friends than being home where the only friend is the television and maybe a few video games. Some local school districts have been known to offer enrichment programs for students who are doing well in school but whose education can be widened and deepened through such programs.

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Summer activities are important for youths, particularly in the Imperial Valley where temperatures soar over 100 degrees daily and there are not as many activities as in metropolitan areas. But there are programs here; it just takes a little research to find them and determine which is best for your child. Most programs here are not expensive and some are free.

We urge parents, as difficult as it may be, to find something for their kids to do. Your kids may argue a bit because many would rather do as little as possible. But as we all know, by the summer's end kids are so bored they are looking forward to going to school simply to have something to do.

If you cannot find a program to interest your child, try to get the children involved in reading. For younger children, libraries offer excellent reading programs; for teens a trip to the library, or maybe to the local bookstores, would be worthwhile.

The more parents do to keep their kids involved during the summer, the more fun the summer will be — even if the kids do not realize it at first.

Summers are not the easiest time in the Valley, but with a little effort by parent and child young people can have fun, safe summers in which the doldrums stay away.

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