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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's almost the end of the school year and almost time for your kids to start complaining about boredom.
But teenagers in Dougherty County will definitely have something to do. The idea is to keep them away from the pressures that they face these days.
According to Coach Jesse Massey of Albany Middle School, "the number one thing, probably, and we've seen a lot here lately is gang initiation and gangs, being associated with that."
And one way to keep teenagers out of trouble is to give them something to do, especially during the Summer months. Since 1975, Dougherty County has taken part in a program called the National Youth Sports Program, or NYSP for short. Over the years, it's helped a whole lot of kids in our area, according to Coach Massey: "between 15 and 18 thousand kids."
But a few years ago, the federal budgetary axe was swung and the program was threatened with extinction.
Massey said, "the budget was completely cut for NYSP."
Then a knight in shining armor came to the rescue.
"The city, and county and some other entities stepped up and saw a need," said Massey.
And they picked up where the federal government left off. Now known as the Albany State Enrichment Program, it's limited to only 350 participants.
For those lucky few there's a full day from the time they arrive on the A-S-U campus until the time that they leave.
"The kids will be able to swim, enjoy outdoor activities such as soccer, tennis, golf," said Coach Robert Skinner of Albany State University.
And even though sports was once part of the program's name, that's not the only thing that kids will be doing.
While the Summer program here at Albany State is designed to keep kids physically fit, it's running at the same time as another program designed to keep them mentally sharp as well.
Skinner said, "we'll also have our NASA SEMA program, which will be our math and science program for the summer, we'll have an English and literature course."
Both Skinner and Massey hope that the kids learn lessons that they can take with them for the next school year.
"It gives them an opportunity to brush up on some of the academic programs that they've learned throughout the year," said Skinner.
But while there is a lot going on, the overall goal of the program is a simple one, accrding to Massey.
"To give the child something to do during the Summer," he said.
And to point kids in Dougherty County towards a better future.
If you want to sign up for your kids for the ASU Enrichment program, you can go to East Albany Medical Center this Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until Noon.
Registration is free and the program runs from June 1st through July 3rd.