ALTON - Let the games begin!

A new program at Riverbender Community Center will bring the exciting, high-tech elements of Friday Open Play to kids in 3rd through 5th grade. Kids Connection will begin Saturday, Feb. 23, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The program will run the second and fourth Saturdays each month through the school year. Cost is just $5 per child.

“Kids Connection will be a combination of our Open Play, where children have volunteer-supervised access to our video games, technology and recreational games; and our private parties, where children are led in interactive games and activities like sack races, musical squares, balloon stomps, and some old favorites like Simon Says and Red Light/Green Light.” RBCC Executive Director Jeff Allsman said. “The program is designed to have some elements of structure that peak the interest of the children and keep them active.”

Allsman said Kids Connection will be monitored by RBCC staff and adult and high school volunteers. But parents are encouraged to stay and play for free.

The RBCC provides a safe place for youths to hang out with their friends, free from the outside influence of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco while getting to experiment with new ideas, new technology and games, through social, educational, and entertaining activities.

“Although the Center is used by younger children for birthday celebrations, and preschoolers enjoy visiting our Dragonfly Café, much of our programming has targeted middle school students,” Allsman said. “The new Kids Connection gives us an opportunity to provide exciting, high-tech interactive playtime and recreation to the kids at the elementary school age. I think third-, fourth- and fifth-graders will find a lot to enjoy at Kids Connection.”

Allsman said if the program is well-received, it will likely begin again with the onset of the new school year.

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