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The SAFE Parks program offers children a safe place to play at area parks but needs additional funding to operate. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

SAFE Parks program gears up for kids

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The SAFE Parks program is in need of more funding to continue serving kids throughout the summer.

The SAFE Parks - Safe and Fun Environment - program offers a variety of activities for children of all ages.

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The Headwaters Intervention Center hosts the program each summer. Volunteers are on hand every day to provide a safe, chaperoned environment outdoors.

The proposed SAFE Parks schedule is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Heartland Park in Park Rapids, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at Akeley's Beach Park and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Muskie Park in Nevis.

However, the program has had to be scaled back over the past few summers because of less funding. The programs could be scaled back again, said Becci Leonard, Headwaters Intervention Center executive director.

The program provides a safe place for children to spend the day with supervision.

Every day of the week has a different theme and additional opportunities for arts and crafts as well as the park's recreation offerings.

Children ages 7 and under must be accompanied by adults. Older children can stop by any time on their own.

Unsupervised youth are more likely to commit crimes, be victims of crimes or experiment with alcohol or drugs. Because of this, Leonard thinks the program is needed in the community.

It is funded completely by donations. In Park Rapids in 2010, 590 new kids were served, with 1,993 total kids.

For more information, or to donate, call the Headwaters Intervention Center at 732-7413.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
(218) 732-3364
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