The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

June 4, 2014

Soon-to-be students will get schooled (with VIDEO)

CLINTON — A new town will pop up next week in Clinton.

Dozens of area children will inhabit the makeshift city Monday, commemorating the 49th annual Safety Town.

This year’s event will feature new coordinators, but the message of safety won’t change.

Clinton Recreation Director Gregg Obren took over this year for longtime coordinator Kay Hake, who organized the event for more than decade.

Even though Obren is new to the coordinator position, it’s not his first time being involved with the summer safety program.

“My kids went through it and I knew what it was all about,” Obren said. “Being around kids so much, you pick up things on how things are run and what the pieces are that need to be put together.”

Safety Town is a week-long course designed for children entering kindergarten in the fall. The sessions are designed to teach children how to be safe and familiar with safety services in the community.

Those lessons are taught through everyday learning experiences, such as understanding traffic signals, bus safety, reporting to emergency responders and more. Also, emergency personnel, K-9 and therapy dogs, and pool safety will be featured during the session.

Clinton Fire Chief Mike Brown said Safety Town provides the fire department an opportunity to reach out to children and start the journey to practicing safe habits.

“Some of the things they’re going to be confronted with, like fire drills in school, could be scary if they’ve never seen that,” Brown said. “And they won’t have their parents there (at school), so it’s good to know what’s going on.”

Obren said this event gives children more confidence when entering kindergarten in the fall.

“I think most of the apprehension that kids have going into school for the first day is ‘what is it about?’” Obren said. “By doing this, kids get a taste of what’s going on...Kids have a real good understanding of what their day will be like and it kind of limits the apprehension and surprise.”

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