The Union Recorder

Editorials

June 11, 2014

Youth benefit from local access to summer camps, activities

MILLEDGEVILLE — With summer upon us Milledgeville is in a fortunate position to have a number of local options for youth.

While residents of other communities sometimes have to travel to attend camps and summer programs, it’s great to have local support from numerous organizations and also three institutions of higher education to provide a variety of options and activities for local campers in both athletics and education.

A typical week this summer offers local youth football, soccer, baseball and gymnastics, not to mention the weekly activities provided through the library’s Summer Reading Club. In coming weeks, the Milledgeville Explorers and Junior Deputy Camp will give local youth insight into the world of law enforcement, while the recently launched STEMversity offers exploration into science, technology, engineering and math. Georgia College’s Kids University, offered through the office of continuing education, provides new activities each week. The local collegiate athlete programs deliver access to top-notch facilities for camps and programs as well. Next week’s annual Bert Williams football camp for local youth is just one prime example. Georgia College’s summer athletic camps draw schools both public and private from throughout the state.

There are a number of reasons why these summer activities for kids are so valuable. Many times, children can improve their retention rates, foster important life skills and have fun at the same time. That’s not to mention the health and wellness benefits of staying active, particularly in the summer months when school is out. There’s also the socialization factor, where these young participants learn to engage with their peers, sometimes youngsters from other schools or neighborhoods that they may otherwise have never interacted with. These activities are a prime opportunity to help them nurture current friendships, while also making new ones.

These types of programs also promote safety during a period of the year where kids are at home, parents are at work and they need a safe respite for constructive, supervised activities.

Summer youth programs are vitally important and can go a long way in developing skills that often carry over from one school year to the next and hopefully show up in the form of classroom achievement as well.

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