Meterorological summer begins today: June 1 and runs until August 31. This is not to be confused with astronomical summer which is from June 20 to September 22. Meterorological summer is usually the sunniest, hottest time of year. It is also the time when teens are out of school. Sometimes with nothing to do.
What summer programs do: the research
Studies show that when youths are a part of a group and have a place to be and people to be with, they are less likely to be involved in risky behavior. Why? Because programs provide a safe place with responsible adult supervision. Studies by Johns Hopkins University showed that participants in these programs found a decrease in sexually irresponsible behavior and in participation in violent criminal activity.
Youth Advisory Commissions and the Texas Municipal League
Cities across Texas have both established and forming Youth Advisory Commissions (YAC). As adults, we know that the greatest resource we have is our children. Children are– both literally and figuratively–our future. Investing in these youth then is one of the best things we can do to ensure the ongoing success of our communities.
The many benefits of YACs
These Texas YACs have many benefits for both the teenage participants and the community, such as:
- Increased positive involvement, connection and interaction with the community
- Creation of an inter-generational network; the fabric of any city
- An outlet for teens to share their energy, ideas and struggles
- A safe place for youth to learn and grow
- An opportunity for youths to engage, be heard and feel a part of something greater than themselves
- A way for the city’s youth to understand that they matter and feel that they are important to the community
There are so many existing programs and opportunities for new programs that it is not feasible to list them all here. However, some of the more well-known activities include movies in the park, family fun nights, government education classes, adopt-a-roadway, Black history talent show and career fests.
YAC programs foster connection, information and involvement. They help those who participate understand civics and become a responsible part of a well-kept and functioning city. Additionally, the teens who participate in these summer programs often have opportunities to develop a plan for their future, create a public persona and improve their public speaking skills. And it all starts today!