As summer begins, police emphasize importance of summer youth programs

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DANVILLE (WSLS10) - Kids at Coates Recreation Center are wasting no time enjoying their summer break.

The center already has more students enrolled in the summer camp program this year than this time last year and people are continuing to sign up. That's a good sign according to the police department.

"Activities during the summer can keep children busy and in doing so can probably keep them from committing some petty crimes," said Danville Police Department Lt. Mike Wallace.

Wallace said that while juveniles typically don't commit more serious crimes, such as murders and shootings, which have plagued the city over the past month and a half, petty crimes can potentially lead to more serious crimes.

"It is a progression a lot of times, starting out with small incidents that progress into larger incidents," he explained.

Coates Recreation Center offers both full and part-time summer camp programs that run from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and it's not too late to sign up.

"The children need as much structured and unstructured play as they can get, kind of a balance between the two," said Brittney Hairston, Danville Parks & Rec's after school programs coordinator.

"We provide that in many different aspects; between music, wildlife, healthy eating, physical activity and some unstructured play," continued Hairston.

The Danville Boys and Girls Club is another option. Aside from the standard activities, the club also offers older kids an opportunity to mentor younger ones.

"To see their older peers doing well and participating, and volunteering and working, it gives them goals," said Club Director Jessica Hockett.

Goals that could play a big role in the community's ongoing effort to reduce crime in the city.

For information about the summer camp program at Coates Recreation Center, call the center at 434-799-5150 or stop by the center at 1752 Westover Drive. For information about the Boys and Girls Club's summer program, call the club at 434-792-6617 or stop by the club at 123 Foster Street.

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