OUR OPINION: Encourage kids in your life to stay busy this summer
Published 8:00 am Friday, May 19, 2023
Idle hands are the devil’s plaything.
School is letting out for summer break all too soon, and with that comes many idle hands and many opportunities to get in trouble. However, the Vicksburg and Warren County community is full of opportunities to keep children occupied over the summer and give them productive ways to stay involved and keep their minds active.
Take, for example, the area’s many summer camps. From the arts and enrichment-based camps at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center to the STEM education camps hosted by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, there’s a camp to fit every interest and age group.
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If arts and science and math aren’t in your child’s wheelhouse, consider one of the many summer programs offered at the Junius Ward Johnson YMCA or other area programs. For older teens, internships are a lucrative way to learn new life skills and get your foot in the door for a profitable career.
Even a couple hours a day for a week at one of our churches’ many Vacation Bible School programs could be the difference in a productive summer break for a student or a child ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that there was a clear connection between an increase in crime, especially violent crimes, and the summer months. Not only do violent crimes increase; juvenile crimes increase as well.
According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a fatal alcohol-related accident. Teens are often charged with drug possession or distribution. As they have more time on their hands, they may try to experiment and try drugs or earn money with drug sales.
Warmer temperatures can mean open doors and cracked windows, and teens may see an opportunity to take valuables they see left on the front seat of a car or in a home. Curfew violations also see an uptick.
The Vicksburg and Warren County community has more “good” teens than bad — our stellar graduation rates display that beautifully. But it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch.
Take it upon yourself to help a child get involved in something bigger than themselves this summer. Sponsor their spot at camp, help their parents enroll them in a program or simply act as a mentor. You never know whose life you could change.