Mid-summer attendance figures show youth are attending Tulare County’s Summer Night Lights program in record numbers.
Summer Night Lights is a program that aims to curb violence and other negative activity by keeping selected parks and recreational facilities open during the summer months. The program was initiated in 2011 with three cities participating. This year, the program is taking place in eight different sites in Tulare County.
County officials credit the efforts of community organizers, the increase in site locations, and the need for positive youth activities as reasons for the increase in attendance. One city who is participating for the first time is leading all sites in attendance. At least one community has had so much success; they will try to extend the program beyond the summer months.
From June 13 to July 13, 5,039 youth have attended one of the 25 Summer Night Lights events in one of eight communities where the program is offered. On average, that is more than 200 attendees per night. In comparison to last year, 2,235 youth attended 16 Summer Night Lights events in one of three communities. On average, that is more than 139 attendees per night.
“There is a high demand throughout Tulare County for positive programming for youth in the summer months and each community has stepped up in their own way to provide great events,” said Phil Cox, District Three Supervisor. “Tulare County will continue to work with all partners to provide a safe, positive environment.”
Through July 13, the city of Dinuba, who is participating in the program for the first year, is leading in attendance with 2,250 people attending four events, an average of 562 people per event.
Dinuba’s Community Services Department Recreation Coordinator Stephanie Hurtado said Summer Night Lights fits into the department’s motto of “We Make Fun Happen.”
“The City of Dinuba is excited to team up with Tulare County to give the families in our community a safe and fun place to create long lasting memories,” Hurtado said. “Summer Night Lights is a big hit in our community and is helping take back our town.”
While this community does not have the large numbers of Dinuba, Richgrove officials say they had no choice but to try and extend the idea of Summer Night Lights and provide similar programming throughout the year with a once-a-month movie night during the school year. Attendance in Richgrove, a community of 2,882 people in southeast Tulare County, has averaged 105 people in each of its first two events. Richgrove will host its largest event on July 20 with a carnival night for the community.
Anastacia Rivera, Summer Night Lights representative for Richgrove, said there have been many benefits to the program.
“Summer Night Lights is bringing community members and families together,” Rivera said. “Our goal is to take back our town and this program is helping us make this happen.”
Fifth District Supervisor Mike Ennis, who represents Richgrove, said he is pleased with the turnout and participation.
“Richgrove is a take charge community and has embraced the Summer Night Lights program,” Supervisor Ennis said. “We will continue to work with community members and make a difference for the youth.”
Residents interested in finding dates and updates regarding the Summer Night Lights program can visit www.stepuptc.com or “like” the Tulare County Summer Night Lights on Facebook.
Attendance Figures: (Number of events complete, total attendance numbers)
Alpuagh/Allensworth: Two events, 140 people
Cutler-Orosi: Four events, 975 people
Dinuba: Four events, 2,250 people
Farmersville: Three events, 187 people
Porterville: Four events, 1,075 people
Richgrove: Two events, 210 people
Tulare: Two events, 145 people
Visalia: Four events, 557 people