Students advised to ‘make the right choices’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 8, 2005

There’s going to be tons of activities for Suffolk youngsters over the summer.

The Parks and Recreation Department will be holding Planet Recreation, a camp filled with field trips, sports, movies, arts and other activities. They’ll be giving a history camp to learn about the area’s past, and an Outdoor Adventure class at Lone Star Lakes Park. Playgrounds such as KidsZone will by there for the enjoying, and the pools at Cypress Point, the Suffolk YMCA and other areas will be Hiltons of fun.

Maybe, just maybe, local kids will have so much to do that they won’t have time to get into other things – like drugs and crime.

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Diana Klink certainly hopes so. On Tuesday afternoon, the city attorney’s office Community Outreach Coordinator kicked off the &uot;Crime Prevention: Gearing Up for Summer&uot; program for fifth-graders at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.

&uot;The fifth-graders are the ones that are very impressionable,&uot; said Klink, in her fourth year of doing the program. Tuesday was its first arrival at Elephant’s Fork.

&uot;They’ll be in middle school next year, and with that comes new challenges, like peer pressure and other things that they may not have had to deal with before. This gives us a chance to reach them one more time and let them know how important it us to stay clean and how to say no.&uot;

If children happen to step over the criminal line, Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Marie Walls told them what might happen.

&uot;How many of you want to get up early this summer?&uot; she asked. &uot;How many of you want to do homework?&uot;

Very few hands went up.

&uot;If you’re in juvenile hall, they tell you when to sleep, when to eat, when you can go to the bathroom,&uot; Walls said. &uot;You don’t get to go to the pool or any fun things.

&uot;Community service for kids is washing buses and picking up trash while everyone else is out having fun. Guess what judges love to do to people your age?&uot;

A few tried to guess, but no one hit on the right answer.

&uot;They make you go to the library and read about the law you broke,&uot; she said. &uot;Then you have a write a five-to 10-page paper about it. They want to make sure that you’ve learned about the law.&uot;

Mark Furlo of the Parks and Recreation Department outlined the fun things to do around the city over the next few months, and YMCA aquatics director Allison Reynolds gave a lesson on swimming safety.

Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer Tammy Jones used a technological analogy to teach kids how to deal with potentially-troublesome situations.

&uot;Use Control-Alt-Delete!&uot; she said, referring to the manner of resetting a computer.

&uot;Control – I’m not going to do that! Altering a situation – you shouldn’t do that either, and if you were my friend, you wouldn’t. Delete – move away from the situation by changing the subject.

&uot;Think about control,&uot; she said. &uot;Weigh the good against the bad.

&uot;Everybody wants a whole lot of friends, but if they’re doing something wrong, we have to cut them off.

&uot;It’s going to be a wonderful summer if you make all the right choices!&uot;