WILLIAMS - Keeping children entertained during the summer months can be a challenge, but parents in Williams have a secret weapon at their disposal - the Williams Parks and Recreation Summer Rec Program.
The recreation program is available to children ages 6-13, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Williams Recreation Center through July 30.
Program Coordinator Patti Jackson said, at a cost of $5 per day, the program is an economical option for parents looking for fun activities for their children.
"I think if it wasn't for the summer rec program, these kids would be sitting at home watching TV," she said. "Generally, both parents are working as we know we all have to do. So, these kids are usually at home watching TV or at a babysitter for more money than it takes to be here. And, you don't get the fun factor and you don't get to socialize with other kids. It keeps the kids occupied and active. Otherwise, literally, they would be sitting, playing video games all day long. Here, we don't turn the TV on."
The rec program includes crafts, two days of swimming per week at the Williams Aquatic Center, use of the skate park and weekly field trips on Tuesdays.
This year's outings include trips to Harkins Theater in Flagstaff, Bearizona, fishing at Buckskinner Lake and a day at Freedom Station in Prescott Valley.
"It's kind of like a mini amusement park," Jackson said. "They've got all kinds of arcade games and they've got miniature golf and a climbing wall. It's really fun. I'm sure there are some kids that never get to go to some of the places we go to."
Field trips are rotated each year so they remain fresh to children returning to the program.
The Summer Rec Olympics are scheduled for later in the July and will be held at Cureton Park.
"We play all kinds of water games," Jackson said. "Lots of relays and races. Lots of competitive games with prizes and fun stuff."
Breakfast and lunch is provided each day by Camp Civitan.
Five assigned staff members supervise children all day long with a sign in upon arrival and a sign out at the end of the day.
"We make sure they're signed out to the right people," Jackson said. "It's very safe, very supervised."
Parks and Recreation Director Rose Newbold said approximately 45 children attended the program last week but expects numbers to double this week coinciding with the end of summer school.
Along with more structured activities, Jackson said the children have plenty of time to play outside and use recreation center facilities.
"They play dodge ball like crazy all day, play kickball and play on the playground," she said. "We have, of course, pool, foosball. They run themselves ragged. They get home very tired. Their parents love us."