May 2010  

 

   

Plans To Keep Local Students Busy This Summer

As we near the end of this school year and approach the beginning of summer, many parents are contemplating ways to keep their children busy during the break. The ideal solution would be an environment that offers entertaining and educational programs. Children look forward to the summer months for fun and relaxation. However, parents understand the importance of also keeping them physically and mentally active. Harris County has numerous programs that serve as fantastic alternatives to lazy summer days. Some of the programs may have fees to attend. Please contact the individual locations for information on costs and requirements.
Precinct One Commissioner El Franco Lee has several facilities that offer summer activities for children. The Harris County Aquatics Center will provide swim lessons to kids six years and older. The class dates are June 7 – July 1 and July 5 – July 29. The children will be able to display the swim skills they learn at Splashdown, a friendly competition to be held on July 30 at the Harris County Aquatics Center.
Alexander Deussen Park and Challenger Seven Memorial Park both serve as host sites for summer day-camps that provide youth groups an opportunity to explore nature indoors and outdoors. While indoors, the children learn about science and biology by studying the customs, living habits and eating habits of various insects and animals. Outdoors, the children explore nature trails to gain an understanding of nature and its inhabitants. These programs provide an opportunity to interact with nature while learning about insects, snakes, turtles, raptors, bats, alligators, crustaceans and marine life. For more information on the programs, call 281-332-5157.

Finnigan Park, which includes the NFL YET (Youth Education Town) Center, offers many fun-filled activities for youths between the ages of 7 to 17. The program emphasizes nutrition, regular physical activity, leadership skills and financial responsibility. The program also offers swimming lessons, etiquette classes, drama productions and various games. Call 713-678-7385 for more information.

At the Lincoln Park Community Center, the Summer Enrichment Program offers many events to keep children busy. They are able to participate in arts and crafts, swimming, volleyball, kickball, educational games, table games, tennis, karate and other activities. For more information, call 281-445-1617.

At the end of the summer, participants from these Precinct One programs, as well as children from various participating agencies located in Harris County, will compete in the Street Olympics. Approximately 5,000 boys and girls, ages 6 to 15, participate in the Street Olympics. Preliminary competitions are held by the participating agencies in neighborhood locations prior to the Street Olympics Summer Games Final Event. The Summer Games consist of many different street games and include basketball (dribble, 3-on-3 and free throw), sprint races, jacks, kickball, hopscotch, Frisbee accuracy, softball throw, jump rope and hula hoop. For more information on Street Olympics, call 713-741-0851.
Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia’s Precinct2gether Summer Day Camp Program offers a variety of learning activities for students in first through eighth grade. The program provides science, reading, math and computer classes as part of the campers’ weekly activities. The campers will participate in music enrichment classes and will present a musical performance at the conclusion of camp. They will take part in various sports activities and will compete in a field day with campers from all Precinct2gether summer sites. The program also provides a lunch and snack for each child during regular camp and field trip days.

Campers will take field trips to various places. Some of the trips planned for this year include visits to the Houston Zoo, Brazos Bend State Park, San Jacinto Monument, Battleship Texas, Moody Gardens, SplashTown, Children's Museum of Houston and other fun-filled locations.

The Precinct2gether Summer Day Camp Program will be held weekdays June 14 – July 15 from 8 a.m. – 3p.m. The camps are first come, first served. Applications are now available. For more information on registration and camp sites, call 281-864-9028.

In Precinct Four, Commissioner Jerry Eversole offers various programs throughout the precinct. The Magnum-Howell Center kicks off the “Sun”tastic Summer Kid’s Club with an ice cream and dance party on June 10. The program runs through July 29 and is held each Thursday (except July 1). Scheduled events include a Freedom Festival to celebrate our country’s freedom; a magic and illusions show; and a movie day, featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Please register by calling 281-591-7830.
The Summer Programs at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center begin on June 5 with a "geocaching" scavenger hunt. Participants will be able to use GPS units (they will need to bring their own GPS) to find various features and items in the park. Other planned events include taking an evening canoe trip down Spring Creek; learning about the soldiers of the American Revolution and watching a demonstration of the clothing and gear they used; participating in a program in the Redbud Hill Homestead using hands-on activities to experience the hardships of an earlier period and creating a homestead of their own; discovering the exotic wildlife found in the park and surrounding areas; visiting a reptile open house with displays of live reptiles and amphibians from around the world; and enjoying an evening of fishing, building sand castles, and playing games on the beach at Jones Park. Please call 281-446-8588 for reservations, or visit www.hcp4.net/jones for more information.
Fun in the Sun Summer Kids Program at Crosby Community Center begins June 9 and continues through July 28. Programs will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. Activities include a crocodile encounter; a presentation of Jack and the Beanstalk by Express Children’s Theatre; a puppet show that teaches basic safety rules; a summer cool down water day, which includes a presentation about fire safety; and an exciting magic show presented by Harmony the Clown and her friend Abby the Monkey. Call 281-462-0543 to register or for more information.
May Community Center is having the “Fun”shine Summer Kids’ Program on Tuesdays beginning June 8 through July 13 at 10 a.m. Kids are invited to travel around the world via the Community Center. Each child receives a special passport, which is stamped at every program. Sessions will include: Blast Off – NASA representatives will visit the center and take the kids on a “journey” to outer space; Australia’s Outback Adventure – Jungle Jack is back from Australia and shares his experiences; Discover Scotland – professional storyteller Rickey Pittman spins tales about the majestic country, its people and culture; China: The Orient Express – the children will hop aboard the Orient Express and travel to China and enjoy an authentic Lion Dance performance that features drums, cymbals and costumes; Niagra Falls – kids will be able to slip and slide down May Center’s own Niagara Falls. Registration is required for all programs, which begin Monday, May 10, at 8 a.m. For more information on the program or to register, call 281-324-3373.

Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens will host two children’s summer program sessions. The first session will be held June 28-30, and the second will take place July 26-28. Both sessions will begin at 9 a.m. and end at noon. Each will include the following programs: Bird Species and Identification; Reptiles and Amphibians presentation; and Butterflies and Dragonflies observation. Call 281-443-8731 to register or for more information.

B.F. Clark Community Building will host its first-ever summer program. Express Children’s Theatre will present Jack and the

Beanstalk at 10 a.m. on June 10. The musical adaption of the classic children’s story will incorporate music and movement to create an enchanted world. Advanced registration is required. For more information or to register, please call 281-893-3726, ext. 32.
From participating in recreational sports to learning about creatures native to this area, these programs will keep students busy and entertained during summer vacation. Parents will be pleased with the variety of activities available to their children.
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"Nobody's Waterproof. Play it Safe"

Most of us cannot imagine the summer in Harris County without some sort of water recreation to help beat – and even enjoy – the heat. The Memorial Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial opening of most area swimming pools, while nearby lakes and the Gulf are available for recreation the year around.

Before you take to the lake or head for the pool – whether it's in your own back yard, a community center, or health club – it's wise to review the safety precautions you and your family need to use for enjoying the water and staying safe.

Boating Safety

If you use a boat for fishing, water-skiing, or pleasure cruising, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers the following principles of safe boating:

Wearing life jackets saves lives. At the start of the season, make sure that there is a life jacket for everyone on the boat, that they are the correct sizes, and that they are labeled “U.S. Coast Guard-Approved.” Then, insist that everyone wear a life jacket every time.

Designate a driver. Sober boating saves lives. According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s “Boating Under the Influence Initiatives” (click here), a boat operator is likely to become impaired more quickly than a car driver, drink for drink.

Having alcohol-free boating is the safest way to boat, but if you plan to include alcohol as part of the recreation, make sure there is a period of time between the partying and the boating (or driving home) – a minimum of an hour per drink. Operating a boat safely is a legal – and personal – responsibility.

Boater education and safe boats save lives. While it is not required by Texas law, it is a good idea for all boat owners to educate themselves on the skills required for safe and courteous boating. There are a variety of boater education courses and publications available. Knowing the legal requirements of owning and handling a boat, understanding what to do in an emergency, tips on choosing the right boat, and other important information is offered at the Parks and Wildlife Department's Web site. Another source for boating safety tips is the "Boating Safety Resource Center" of the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Division.
Pool Safety
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among Texas children. Here are some startling statistics from Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services:
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages one to four.
A child can drown in the time it takes to pick up the telephone or answer the doorbell – drowning kills quickly and silently.
It takes only two minutes under water for a child to lose consciousness.
Irreversible brain damage sets in after four to six minutes under water.
Most children submerged under water for 10 minutes will die.
Any amount of water that covers a child’s mouth and nose can cause drowning.
The Texas State Child Fatality Review’s Position Statement, “Water Safety for Children,” is a comprehensive document containing suggestions for parents and caretakers to keep children safe. According to their research, the dangers of drowning change depending on the age of the child and the regular surroundings. Young children are at high risk for drowning when they live and play around water. Infants are most at risk of drowning when left unsupervised – even for seconds – in the bathtub. The greatest risk of drowning for toddlers and young children are residential pools, hot tubs, or water storage areas such as wells, cisterns and stock tanks. Young teens most often drown during water recreation such as swimming and boating.
But drowning is highly preventable. Tips recommended by experts include:

Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and keep rescue equipment, a telephone, and emergency phone numbers poolside.
Parents and caregivers must understand the need for constant “touch” supervision of children. There is no substitute for “eyes and hands-on” supervision.
Never leave a child unsupervised in or around water.
Do not rely on personal flotation devices or swimming lessons alone to protect your child.
If you have a backyard pool, install childproof fencing around the pool.
Keep pool gates locked at all times. Do not leave toys in or around the pool that could attract children.
Always secure the safety cover on your spa or hot tub. A solar cover can allow toddlers to slip into the water while the cover appears to stay in place, hiding the child.
Teach your child about pool and water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.
Be aware of all bodies or containers of water that can pose a danger to a child.
Properly install and maintain anti-entrapment drain covers.
Equip pool and spa pumps with a safety vacuum release system, an emergency sensor that shuts off the switch automatically if the drain is blocked.
Replace drain covers immediately if they are broken or damaged, and do not use the pool or spa until they are replaced.
Enjoy the water safely, and don’t forget the sunblock!
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