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Sunnyside's Promise exploring summer rec activities for local youths

Members of Sunnyside's Promise met yesterday to discuss safe summer places and activities for local youth with the intention of adding even more options to the list.

"There are a lot of kids doing good things and that want to have (more) good things to do with other kids," said Sunnyside's Promise Director Lisa Fairbairn.

One idea discussed was the fact that in years past, school gym doors were opened in the evening hours to provide a venue for teens to play basketball.

Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder said that one of the problems with that is that it was the same organization overseeing the gym activity and that it was labor intensive. "Is there maybe a potential of businesses or community groups to take a weekend to supervise it, rather than put it on the shoulders of the same people over and over again?," he asked.

Fairbairn said that she sat down with a group of high school teens and asked them to "think outside of the box," and brainstorm ideas of fun things they'd like to do.

Their ideas included a water carnival, a drive-in movie at the high school football field, a midnight swim, a scavenger hunt, a midnight bowling tournament, a campout and bon fire.

"They want simple things that don't cost a lot of money," Fairbairn said.

"None of these things are that hard to pull off," said Larry Mays of the Sunnyside Ministerial Association.

In terms of enjoying movies outdoors, Teodora Martinez of Yakima's Circle of Success said that Yakima Parks and Recreation just purchased an inflatable movie screen with grant funds and that they are hosting movies in the park, which have been widely successful.

Radder suggested that inquiries be made as to whether or not Sunnyside could borrow the screen.

Sunnyside Community Hospital representatives LaDon and Sandra Linde said that they'd be happy to pay $112 for Sunnyside's Promise to rent the pool for 150 area youth on the evening of July 13.

Individuals representing various organizations were encouraged to query what they'd be willing to take on in terms of making just one event possible.

Nuestra Casa is contemplating creating a girls 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

Sunnyside's Promise is working on seeing whether or not it will be possible to provide free ice cream at the community's Independence Day celebration and fireworks ceremony at Clem Senn Field.

One important point that was made at the meeting is that there appears to be not one clearly identified information resource for all events going on in the community for teens during a particular week. Charlotte Hinderlider of the Sunnyside Police Department and Fairbairn offered to look into changing that.

This came up after several upcoming community events were cited that others present simply weren't aware of.

Fairbairn hopes to hear back from community organizations within a week on possible projects to keep local teens safe while having fun.

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