We wrote Saturday about many of the big-time events that keep Clinton hopping in the summer months, things like Art in the Park, Balloons in June and Riverboat Days. Those events are iconic, punctuating summer weekends and creating a backdrop that typifies summer in Clinton.

While those events are spectacular, each in their own right, they are not the true fabric of summer. Rather, there are countless activities that take place for a week or two at a time, some that go for a month or more, all giving area youths and teens the opportunity to enrich their lives in any manner of ways.

In a town the size of Clinton, summer can be a great opportunity for a child to take what he or she loves most about the school year and do only that for three glorious months.

Athletes have a wide variety of sports activities available. Dramatic youths can find a home on the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre. There’s Enviro Kids and the Grow Your Garden of Hope programs for the science-minded. Local libraries have excellent summer reading programs. The amount of things offered by Clinton County Extension and its 4-H program are staggering.

There’s the Community That Cares Adventure Zone, Enrichment Camp at Prince of Peace Catholic Academy, Safety Town, activities at the YMCA and YWCA, the summer business workshops in Fulton, Ill., the sports camp at Ashford University that also offers a drug resistance program and a score of Vacation Bible School opportunities.

We think it’s only right to take a few moments to recognize everyone involved with summer programming for kids. Sure, there are some paid positions, like adults who work at the YMCA or YWCA and for the city at Riverview Swimming Pool or the Ericksen Center. But there also are countless volunteers who run things like youth baseball programs and church activities.

Even if the adults are getting paid, we know they’re in their line of work because of the benefits of interacting with today’s youths and providing them an outlet for all of their summer energy.

Obviously there are too many such programs and volunteers to list — our apologies in advance — because there are so many adults who care about giving our youths a safe place to be in the summer, a place where they can learn and grow in specific areas, possibly without even knowing they’re developing because they’re so focused on having fun.

No, there aren’t as many pick-up games on the old sandlot anymore. But what we do have are adults who work very, very hard to make sure as many kids as possible have something to look forward to each summer.

It speaks volumes about the adults in our community that they give so freely of themselves to help develop tomorrow’s leaders.

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