Dickinson Park and Recreation hosts 8th annual Safety City – The Dickinson Press

DICKINSON – City life can be dangerous, but Safety City offers a safe haven.

The West River Ice Center will host Safety City for the next two weeks as Dickinson Parks and Recreation presents its 8th annual Safety City program June 17-27. This award-winning safety education program allows children to ride bicycles while learning and practicing safety measures for various hazards they may encounter.

Dickinson Parks and Rec's most popular program, Safety City, filled up quickly, but this year the addition of an evening session (4:30-7:00 p.m.) allowed more community members to participate. The program is open to children ages 4-7.

“Safety City is our fastest-filling non-aquatics enrollment, so we're just trying to get more kids into the program,” said Program Director Hannah Pepich. “Based on our community survey we conducted last summer, we found that more parents are looking for an end-of-the-workday program for their kids to participate in.”

In her second year as Safety City's coordinator, Pepich recognizes its growing impact. The North Dakota Recreation and Park Association recognized the program in 2020, presenting it with the Innovative Programming Award.

On average, around 35 children attend each session, divided into age-based groups and assigned to a safety instructor and coordinator.

During the two weeks, children will learn about bicycle safety and safety in a variety of scenarios and will be visited by 14 different safety professionals, including those from the Dickinson Police Department, Stark County Sheriff's Department, Dickinson Fire Department, Dickinson Operations Center, North Dakota Fish and Game, Southwest District Health Unit, NDSU Extension Center and Montana District Utilities.

“In addition to traffic regulations, we also cover topics such as behavior at railroad crossings, water and fire protection, and farm safety,” Pepich said. “We also have various groups, including the veterinary practice, that teach us what to do in situations involving animals. We even talk about internet safety.”

Pepich emphasized the critical role of her sponsors in providing this popular program to the community for another year. She expressed her gratitude to everyone, including the Dickinson Eagle's Club, Roughrider Kiwanis and the Southwest Area Safety Association.

The registration form can be found online on the Dickinson Parks and Rec website. For a $55 registration fee, Dickinson Parks and Recreation will provide snacks, helmets and bikes – both with and without training wheels. All the kids need to bring is their water bottles.

Even the simplest safety rules, like looking left and right before crossing the street, may seem like common knowledge. However, for these children, this may be the first time they've heard these rules, and it can make a big difference when it comes to safety.

“Some of my teachers are helping us with this program for the second or third year now, and they participated in it themselves as children. I think it's nice that they're giving back and helping to pass on the same valuable experiences they had,” Pepich said.

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and the beautiful Concho River. A graduate of Texas A&M San Antonio with a specialization in multimedia reporting, Cuellar is an award-winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on local news and sports.

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