Who Says There’s Nothing To Do This Summer?

If you don’t give kids positive ways to occupy their time, they may find destructive ways to spend it instead.

Joanne Sciulli, head of the young people’s environmental organization Solar Youth, offered that theory Tuesday morning as the mayor unveiled a whole book of positive activities for kids in New Haven.

The booklet, officially entitled “The Mayor’s 2011 Youth Guide to a Summer of Fun, Learning & Adventure,” is a guide to all of the summer programs available to young people and teenagers in New Haven this summer.

Sciulli, who heads a group that runs summer and afterschool youth programs, was one of several leaders of youth organizations who joined the mayor in the fieldhouse at Hillhouse High for the official book launch on Tuesday morning.

Facing a bank of TV cameras, Mayor John DeStefano spoke about youth opportunities while gunfire erupted behind him. It was not problematic gunfire, but rather a starting gun for the Rotary-sponsored track meet underway in the cavernous gym.

Five thousand kids will take part in summer school programs working on activities like literacy and test preparation, the mayor said. Youth At Work, the city’s summer employment program for teenagers, will employ about 650 kids. The parks department is running a variety of summer camps.

Between summer school, youth camps, and Youth At Work, 10,000 slots are set aside for young people to be involved in some types of activity this summer, the mayor said. “It’s part of a coordinated fabric of youth services.”

Assistant Police Chief Pat Redding said the police are offering Police Athletic League programs and the Explorers Program, a sort of a junior police outfit. Those activities serve to help build bridges between police and young people, Redding said.

The city is distributing 22,000 copies of the guide in English and 6,000 in Spanish. It’s also available here at the city’s website.

As the mayor and others spoke, young people sprinted by, taking part in the annual Rotary Youth Olympics. It’s a three-day track meet for seventh and eighth-graders in the city. Five events were lined up, including shot put and long jump.

After the press event, middle-schoolers squared off in the 4x200-meter relay.

Seventh grader Darius Wise (not pictured) led his squad of four East Rock Magnet School relayers to victory in their heat, with a time of 2:06.74.

Amber Ross, also a seventh grader, ran the anchor leg for Worthington Hooker. She overcame a deficit to burn past the first-place team and win with an overall time of 2:23.72.

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posted by: SummerGuide 2000-2007 on May 25, 2011  9:30pm

I would like to commend Carol Suber, Neighborhood Programming Specialist for the City’s Youth Service Bureau for all her hard work and effort over the past 12 plus years to make sure this guide is put together and distributed to all New Haven School Students. It should also be mentioned that Tony Sansone at Wilbur Cross’s print shop and Dr. Mayo also provide tremendous support (funding) and effort every year to get this guide out to the community. The information above seemed not to be included in this article. Although all groups mentioned in the article do provide a ‘summer experience’ to the youth of new haven, they are not the backbone behind ‘The Mayor’s 2011 Summer Youth Guide’. THANK YOU CAROL SUBER (get well soon).

posted by: Edward_H on May 25, 2011  10:19pm

This is at least one piece of good news for the city. This should not be on the side bar of the NHI. Anyone who says “there is nothing for kids to do in New Haven” needs to get slapped in the mouth with one of these pamphlets, figuratively of course, I don’t condone wanton violence. Also unless the mayor is paying for this program out of his pocket the booklet should be named “New Haven’s 2011 Youth Guide to a Summer of Fun, Learning & Adventure” . This man’s hubris knows no bounds.

posted by: Cynthia Rojas on May 26, 2011  7:02am

I commend all of the youth programs in the City of New Haven that keep our youth safe from violence and crime.  I know as a child I learned so much from my summer activities. Yes, math and science are important but building leadership skills, team building with peers and having fun is key to a young person’s development.  I couldn’t imagine what would happen to our youth without youth programs - which is why they need to stop cutting these programs.  Great Job Solar Youth and all the organizations out there!