Activity center keeps kids busy at night

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School is out, and the days are long, which means children are looking for something to do, especially at night.

The Summer Activity Center, which opens Thursday in the Hayden Valley Elementary School cafeteria, will help answer the "what to do" quandary for children and parents.

Children and teenagers can play pool, air hockey, ping pong and video games at the center, which is open from 6 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The school gym also will be open for basketball.

The center is organized and staffed by the Community Action Network, a nonprofit group of parents, students and community members that hosts activities for children throughout the year.

Grants from Routt County United Way, the town of Hayden and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation fund the center.

About 30 students will visit the center on a typical night, said Caroline Gregory, a member of CAN.

"There's definitely a core group that comes," she said. "The point is to get the kids off the street and give them a place to hang out."

Although the activity center has become a summer staple in Hayden, some parents and children still aren't aware it's there, she said.

The activity center will be open through Aug. 12.

There is a fee to play pool and air hockey. Snacks also are available.

Pool tournaments will be held every Thursday beginning next week. The cost to play is $1 per student, and prizes will be awarded to winners.

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