(Story originally appeared on July 25th, 2018)
By: Timothy Kays
They are our greatest assets. These young children that will be entering Kindergarten have more energy than we can recall ever having ourselves, but their lack of real world experience can make that energy a dangerous thing. Will your child have to cross busy streets, or have to board a bus on a busy highway? What is a busy parent to do?
The Bryan Parks and Recreation Department, in cooperation with the Bryan Kiwanis Club had the answer from July 16 through 20 in a program called Safety Town, which was offered at the East End Community Room. Safety Town is a national program that teaches life-long safety habits.
An adult instructor supervised activities that were so much fun, the kids didn’t even know that they were learning. Important subjects like safe travel to and from school, school bus safety, fire safety, home safety, water safety, bicycle safety, poisons, and how to deal with strangers were included in the program. The kids got to ride in a school bus, but the big hit was when firefighters Eli Partee and Jeremy Miklovic of the Bryan Fire Department came by to teach fire safety on July 19.
The final two things that came with the fire safety instruction involved giving each of the Safety Town participants a ride in a real fire engine, followed by giving them the opportunity to use a real fire hose.
Co-sponsored by the Bryan Kiwanis Club, Bryan Police and Fire Departments, Bryan City Schools, and the Bryan Parks and Recreation Department, Safety Town directed a lot of youth energy into the avenue of education. The program impacted the educators just as much as the kids. Kirsten Frissora, the Health Educator at the Williams County Health Department, talked about poison safety with the Safety Town participants.
“There are a lot of just everyday household items that can look very close to things that are okay to eat and drink that little kids might confuse or get mixed up,” she said. “They might accidentally ingest that poison or that unhealthy object. It’s something to talk to your kids about. If they don’t know what it is, they need to ask an adult before they eat it or drink it. The kids were great; they were very interactive. They were excited to answer my questions and participate.”
Firefighter Partee, a member of the Stryker Class of 2011, was all smiles after his session with the kids. “Oh, I had a blast,” he said. “I always love giving the kids programs, teaching them about fire safety. You can never teach them enough. They usually retain it better when they’re younger, more than adults, and they can help the adults remember stuff for future emergencies.”
If you missed out, you’re in luck. A second session is on the books from July 30th to August 3rd at 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM. The fee is $10.00 per child for materials. Registration forms are available in the Parks and Recreation office.
Timothy can be reached at email@example.com