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franklin county times

Children find summer fun in youth program

By Staff
SUMMER FUN – Shaquanna Campbell, 6, holds a finger puppet she made Tuesday. Campbell and her brother, Marvin, 8, participate in the Super Summer Shenanigans program, part of the the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Summer Youth Program at the Velma E. Young Community Center. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 19, 2002
Bettye Williams is starting to get acquainted with the children of youths she worked with more than 30 years ago in the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Summer Youth Program.
Williams, 61, began working with youth 36 years ago. She is director of the "Super Summer Shenanigans" recreational program.
The program runs weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through July 12; six staff members work with about 65 children aged 6-16. The average age of children in the program is 12 to 13 years.
Children are divided into groups according to their age and participate in activities that include arts and crafts, swimming, bowling, skating and field trips.
Children have fun
Shaquanna Campbell, 6, made a finger puppet of a little girl on Tuesday. She said she likes the program because, "I like to learn and think. And I like to play hide and go seek."
Shaquanna will attend first grade at West Hills Elementary School in the fall. Her brother, Marvin, 8, a third-grader this fall at West Hills, also goes to the center during the day.
Shaniquwas Jones, 11, is entering the fifth grade at Harris Upper Elementary School. She has been attending the youth program since she was 7 and continues to look forward to it.
Her favorite summer activity is swimming so she was excited about a trip planned for the Okatibbee Water Park today.
Teen chips in
Gerard Hills, 15, one of the older students in the program, will be a high school sophomore this fall. Hills has been coming to the center for six years.
He said he enjoys helping the younger children.
Hills also tutors elementary children in the Meridian Public School District.
This is Tina Brown's first summer as the program's activity director. She worked in the program for the past two years as a group leader.
Brown, 34, is also an assistant teacher with Meridian schools. She has been busy planning a trip for the children to McWane Center, an interactive center for children, in Birmingham, Ala., scheduled for July 10