SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - With Chatham County students now on summer break, Savannah city leaders are making sure they have something productive to do with their time.
They're offering a couple of options they hope will have a more than one positive effect.
The goal is to cut down on the number of school-aged kids doing nothing. The summer camps give students 6-13 something to do. Extended gym hours give the older ones something to do. The hope is it could even cut down on the summer spike in crime.
Jaquez Sheppard has been going to the Tompkins Community Center for a while. It's a place he and his friends hone their skills and compete.
"We can go in here instead of going outside, playing in the dark, playing street ball by ourselves," Sheppard said. "We can come in here in the gym at night and play with some people that we know."
Starting next Monday, these guys can play for a lot longer. This gym and the one at WW Law Community Center will be open from 8 p.m. to midnight. Sheppard knows it's far better than the alternatives.
"I think you can be in here instead of out in the streets doing nothing or just at home sitting around," Sheppard, a 17-year old student at Beach High School, said.
That's the idea behind these extended hours and the summer camps. The mayor and council approved the funding in this year's budget process.
"It gives them some option other than getting in trouble. Most of us, if were idle, we'll end up being in trouble, especially boys," Mayor Eddie Deloach said.
The community center late hours are for students between 13-18 years old. For the ones 6-13 years old, the city is offering summer camps. More than 1000 kids can sign up.
"We're made to move. We're made to do things so I hope we can continue to develop the programs," Mayor Deloach said.
The community centers will host the camps in May, June and July. The first sessions run from May 29-June 22. The second one is from June 25-July 20. There are more than 70 programs between the camps and extended community center hours.
"There's something for somebody out there that has got an avenue they can appreciate and enjoy," Deloach said.
It costs $65 for city residents and $105 for non-city residents. Registration is open now.