Kansas City has put together an impressive lineup of activities designed to help keep young people active and out of trouble this summer, especially on weekends.
Combine these programs with a citywide curfew, and the hope is that a peaceful three months or so are ahead — for adults and teenagers.
Other factors will be at play. There’s no substitute for parents keeping a close eye on their children, knowing where they are and when they are expected to return home.
The Police Department must be vigilant, watching for situations with the potential to get out of hand, such as “flash mob” events spread through social media.
Mayor Sly James and officials with the Parks and Recreation Department especially deserve credit for listening to young people and finding out what kinds of activities they want to participate in when they aren’t in school. Many of these teens are from the urban core, which lacks movie theaters, skating rinks and other normal hangouts.
The Night Hoops program will offer basketball games for players up to age 25, as well as job and professional development training for older participants. Other activities will be delivered through Night Kicks (soccer) and Night Nets (volleyball).
The highly successful Club KC also returns. The goal — which has been met in previous years — is to provide safe environments for youth from 11 to 18 years old so they can enjoy live DJs, dancing, video games and other activities at sites around the city.
More information is at kcmayor.org/mayorsnights.
The city’s summer curfew, which took effect last week and will extend through Sept. 27, has established rules for when young people need to be accompanied by a parent or guardians.
The most noteworthy curfew is set at 9 p.m. for anyone 17 and under in five entertainment districts: the Country Club Plaza, Westport, downtown’s central business district, 18th and Vine, and Zona Rosa. Violators can be detained, and parents fined up to $500.
Concerns exist that the curfew is enforced most harshly on the Plaza, and too often directed at minority youth. Police Chief Darryl Forté says racially biased policing does not take place. Still, the police must use good judgment in deciding when to detain young people and how to interact with them.
Parents and their children also have to use common sense this summer. The best ways to do that are to keep the curfew in mind and enjoy the city’s positive programs.