Youth and families in the communities of Earlimart, Exeter, Ivanhoe, and Lindsay will have more recreational options this summer during the weekends thanks to a Tulare County-sponsored program.
Tulare County Summer Night Lights, a program designed to curb violence and other negative activity by keeping selected parks and recreational facilities open during the summer months, will offer activities to youth and families in a total of twelve communities this summer. That number is up from nine compared to last year.
County officials credit the efforts of community organizers and the need for positive activities as reasons for the increase in participation countywide.
“Summer Night Lights would not be a success if it were not for the caring community members of Tulare County,” said Phil Cox, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “We will continue to partner and support various organizations who continue to make a positive difference.”
Chairman Cox initiated the Summer Night Lights program in 2011 and modeled it after a similar program offered in Los Angeles. In its first year, Summer Night Lights was attended by 2,235 people in three communities. By comparison, in 2013, the program was attended by 11,837 people in nine communities.
Community and city officials who have administered the program say Summer Night Lights has been beneficial to their communities.
City of Porterville Parks & Leisure Services Director Donnie Moore said the community provided positive feedback from activities held last summer.
“SNL has provided families a fun, safe and free weekly summer program,” Moore said. “We have spread the program to various areas of the city and have had some great community partners to assist with the implementation.”
Woodlake City Manager Ramon Lara said the six events helped keep youth active and out of trouble. This year, Woodlake will expand to eleven events.
“The Summer Night Lights program was a success for the community of Woodlake,” Lara said. “The local city parks and pools became a destination for kids on Friday nights and cut down on juvenile mischief citywide.”
While Woodlake and Porterville has had success with Summer Night Lights, the City of Lindsay will host the program for the first time. City of Lindsay Operations Manager Clint Ashcraft said the McDermont Fieldhouse will be the venue where SNL is held.
“We are fortunate in Lindsay to have such effective partnerships between the city, Lindsay Unified School District, the chamber of commerce, as well as other service organizations with the same purpose of helping our local families and specifically Lindsay kids,” Ashcraft said. “I am very excited about the additional support being offered by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.”
Summer Night Lights will also be offered in Alpaugh, Allensworth, Cutler-Orosi, Porterville, Tulare, Visalia, and Woodlake. The schedule and a list of activities are currently being planned.