By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Instead of bored children glued to the television this summer, they can be involved in activities at locations around the area through the Portales Recreation Center’s summer program.
Program director Johnny Ledbetter has been at the Center for seven years, and this is the fourth consecutive year the program has been offered.
The Center offers structured programs from 8 a.m. to noon then lets children pursue activities on their own until 6 p.m.
“You can actually run around and have fun,” said 14-year-old Sky Cathey, who attends the program.
According to Ledbetter, the structured program is split up into three age groups.
Youngsters ages 5- to 7-years-old are separated from children 8- to 10-years-old. There’s also an age group for children 11 to 13.
Ledbetter can only accept 55 children for the program, though, and as of earlier this week, they had 44 children signed up.
“We usually don’t have any problems getting that many kids,” Ledbetter said. “We expect 50 to 55 (children to participate) each week.”
Some of the activities include going to Casel-Land Fun Center in Clovis, as well as Roller World.
The group also goes to the movies, fishing and bowling.
The children also go to the zoo and area museums, in addition to having pony rides and pizza parties.
When the youngsters come back to the Recreation Center, there’s always scooters, pool and board games.
“It’s awesome,” 13-year-old Nebraska Tinsley said. “We play dodge ball, run-sheep-run, we go to the museum, and tomorrow we’re going to the movies.”
“It’s fun because you get to talk to your friends,” 13-year-old Kylie Katalinich said. “Sometimes you don’t get to see them that often (during the summer.)”
The program is made up of two four-week sessions, and the cost is a $10 registration fee, plus $20 per child, per week.
One child can be enrolled in the entire four-week program for $90.
There’s also another big perk to signing up your child for the program.
“We have a deal with the pool, that if they are in the summer rec program, we’ll shuttle them over to the pool and they’ll get to swim for free,” Ledbetter said.
Parents can pick up their children directly from the pool, or the Recreation Center staff will shuttle them back to the Center in the afternoon.
Ledbetter also said that the program does a survey of parents after the summer is over, and the program usually gets about a 97 percent rating of excellent.
“It’s a great program,” Ledbetter said. “It’s a good way to keep your kids busy over the summer.”
“(I’d be) really bored (without this),” Tinsley said. “Because there’s nothing (else) to do.”