Summer programs filling up fast -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Summer programs filling up fast

May 22, 2006

Albany--If school isn't out yet in your county, it will be soon. That means many parents need a place to keep their kids while they work. Many summer programs opened in south Georgia today.

11-year-old Amber Blanch loves playing pool, especially, at the Boys and Girl's Club.

"We have fun and a lot of stuff to do. They keep us busy," says Branch.  She's one of nearly 120 kids attending the organization's summer program at this one site.

"We anticipate we're going to serve over 2,000 kids daily," says Bob Hutchinson.  With just 35 slots left, Operations Director Bob Hutchinson says parents need to get their kids enrolled in the program fast. 

"Starting 9:00 this morning, the telephone has been ringing all day long," he says. Many summer programs began registration in April, but many parents waited to register until now.

"Folks always wait until the last minute," says Oscar Benton.   Director Oscar Benton, has run the I-Can Family Center for three years. He says procrastinating can come at the parent's expense.

"We have registered about forty kids. And we have slots for about twenty more," he says.

From computer games to playing kick ball, Branch says summer programs give her fun ways to occupy her time.  "You get to go swimming, they teach you how to play pool, you get to try out for the basketball team, and a whole lot of other stuff," says Branch.

And plenty of good food to eat.  "French fries, hot dogs, corn dogs, and sandwiches," says Branch.

"We are a USDA site. The Albany Recreation Department sponsors a summer lunch program, free of charge," says Hutchison. 

As many places fill up quickly, Branch urges parents to sign their kids up quickly before time runs out.

"Come, please!" she says.

Those meals are extrememly important. 66-percent of students in the Dougherty County School System qualify for free lunches. Without the summer programs, they may not get healthy meals every day. Many programs offer scholarship programs for parents who can't afford the fees.