Keeping kids safe through summer programs during summer vacation

With the help of summer programs, kids are able to remain in a pattern of familiarity.
With the help of summer programs, kids are able to remain in a pattern of familiarity.(Kate Robinson)
Updated: May. 29, 2023 at 8:00 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Summer vacation is a time for kids to sit back and relax from the pressures of school, but it can also be a time of learning loss and unsafe behaviors if left unsupervised.

According to a study done by Newport Academy, without the structure of school, kids are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors in the summer.

With the help of summer programs, kids are able to remain in a pattern of familiarity, leaving it less likely for them to act out, while leaving them their independence.

“It allows them opportunities to engage with otherwise outside of the school environment, so a different type of environment where the environment is still very safe, has structure but also has opportunities for kids to interact with each other in more of a fashion, they have the opportunity to engage on their own,” says John Julius, the CEO for Youth and Family Services in Rapid City.

School provides a lot of structure for kids during the year not only within the classroom but with their families as well.

These programs grant them the same resources that keep them safe during the school year.

“In some of those outside unsupervised, especially at these impressionable ages it’s important that they have an adult who is trained and understands how to work with children to help them develop relationships with their peers, to provide supervision,” Julius continues.

After School South Dakota is a program that seeks to reach these children in new ways, understanding that not all families have the resources it takes to supervise their kids during the summer.

Providing these summer activities can help prevent bored kids from making unsafe and unhealthy choices.

“We know that in South Dakota we know that over 75% of families have all parents working. So we know that there’s a big need for care in the summer especially. Not every kid, you can’t just leave every kid at home, right? That’s not appropriate or safe,” states Bill Mawhiney from the South Dakota Afterschool Network.

In South Dakota, summer programs are approved by 99% of parents, but lack the funding needed to reach every family in need.

“In the industry of afterschool and summer programs, 99% of parents approve of programs in South Dakota. If we can find ways to fund more programs or expand programs. We could really see a big impact on our education,” Mawhiney concludes.

South Dakota ranks 48th in the nation for education.