Busy as a Bee…
I think I write more about this than any other topic, but I can’t think of a more important topic.
Do you know that when our kids are out of school, studies show they are at greater risk for becoming victims of violent crimes? They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors like smoking, drinking, or doing drugs.
With summer vacation only days away, it’s time to figure out what our kids will be doing, because busy kids are safe kids.
If our kids are busy with productive activities, they are less likely to become victims of crimes or engage in dangerous activities. So please take some time to think of productive activities for your kids to participate in—activities designed to keep them safe. You should know that there are more opportunities in Ukiah than I can possibly describe, so I’ll just highlight some of the best.
First and foremost are the City of Ukiah’s recreation programs. The City of Ukiah Recreation Department’s motto is, “Parks Make Life Better.” For our kids, the Summer Safari Program and City of Ukiah Municipal Swimming Pool truly do make life better each summer.
The Summer Safari Day Camp offers activities like crafts, sports, drama and more for kids ages 6 to 12 years old. The program is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. For families that can’t afford to attend, the program offers scholarships so no one is turned away.
Along with Summer Safari, the City Pool offers a fantastic opportunity to keep kids busy and out of trouble. The pool’s open swim hours are Monday through Friday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
In addition to open public swimming hours, the pool offers a variety of swim lessons and aquatic fitness classes. Knowing how to swim allows kids to be safe around water and provides them with a great way to exercise. Each summer the pool has more than 11,500 visits, and more than 600 kids and adults participate in swim classes. As many have realized, the City Pool is a great way for kids to enjoy themselves and cool off during the hot summer months.
Another option for weekday fun this summer is the Ukiah Boys and Girls Club, which provides a wonderful place for kids to learn and grow, all while having fun. A club membership costs only $50 for the whole year, including summertime supervision, allowing kids to spend their days filled with engaging activities. If you would like more information about the Boys and Girls Club, visit www.ukiahbgc.org
Besides these two organized summer programs, there are many more great opportunities to keep kids busy here in Ukiah.
Our local library has a fantastic reading section just for kids. Reading is a great way to stay busy. Not only does it help keep skills learned during the school year fresh, it also helps improve grades when kids get back into school in the fall. Most importantly, reading offers stories full of mystery, adventure, romance, friendship, heartbreak, joy, and much more. So please, encourage reading—it makes a big difference.
If you’re looking for something else to keep your kids busy this summer, consider sports, martial arts, performing arts, 4-H, Future Farmers of America, Scouting, or volunteering (lots of non-profits can use good help). Each of these activities will help a teenager later in life, whether it’s getting a job, creating a resume’ or completing college application.
While many kids with time on their hands make good choices, some don’t. We’d all like to think our kids know better and won’t succumb to peer pressure or curiosity, but filling their time with positive activities reduces opportunities for risky behavior.
Keeping kids busy really does help keep kids safe.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
By: Chris Dewey - Chief of Police