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Thumbs Up! - June 11, 2012

School may be out for the summer but there are plenty of things to keep the mind, young or not so young, occupied during the heat-filled days and nights. There is no reason to hear the "I'm bored" mantra in Albany.

Already in session, but a long way from over, is the National Youth Sports Program at Albany State University. For the 36th summer, ASU is hosting the NYSP which includes swimming, basketball, softball, golf, soccer, creative dance and tennis. The day-long camp also includes an academic enrichment element including math, science, English and a drug and alcohol prevention program. Once a popular summer program across the nation, Albany has held on to the NYSP while many communities have not, primarily for financial reasons. For the first time, the program at ASU carries a cost for participants of $100. Local sponsors stepped up and provided numerous scholarships and some may still be available. If you or someone you know has a child that could benefit, give ASU a call. The program runs through July 6 for youngsters ages 9-16. To all the sponsors that made it financially possible for NYSP to continue in Albany, thank you.

The Albany Recreation and Parks Department once again has its summer playgrounds program. From 9 a.m. -1 p.m (Monday-Friday), children ages 7-17 are invited to the Gordon Sports Complex, Shackelford Park or C.W. Heath Park for fun-filled mornings. Playground activities include arts and crafts, table games, leadership and character building activities and sports and games. At these, and many other sites, children will receive a free lunch from the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The playground activities will continue through July 27.

For those a bit longer in the tooth, the 2012 Senior Citizen's Prom: A Red Carpet Affair, is Friday. From 7-11 p.m. at the Albany Civic Center, seniors age 50 and up can dress up in their finest and take a spin on the dance floor. Tickets are on sale at the Albany Recreation and Parks office in Tift Park for a mere $10 per person or $15 per couple. J.L. Litman will offer a limo ride to one lucky ticket holder in a drawing on Thursday. So, seniors, even if you can no longer dance the night away, join the party for what promises to be a lot of fun.

For a bit of culture, there is plenty of artwork to see this summer without ever leaving the city. At the Flint RiverQuarium, the 2012 Southwest Georgia Regional Art Show is in full swing. Artists from around the region have created 128 pieces of art. There is sculpture, paintings and photography. Sponsored by the Albany Area Arts Council, this show runs through June 21. At the Albany Museum of Art, the Shades of Gold Senior Art Show, sponsored by the SOWEGA Council on Aging, has more than 40 paintings available for viewing until June 28.

All ages can enjoy a free movie at Riverfront Park later in the summer. On July 21, "The Muppets" will be shown. The event is free, appropriate for all ages and open to the public. Cool off at the fountains, bring chairs or a blanket, something to drink (no glass or alcohol), a snack and the whole family.

As the heat lingers, older children and adults can enjoy a night out to benefit SOWEGA Council on Aging. Comedy Night on Aug. 7 at the Municipal Auditorium will feature, by popular demand, a return performance by Jeanne Robertson. Tickets are on sale now and offer admission to the show only or dinner at Cafe 230 and the show, with a portion of the dinner sales going to benefit Meals on Wheels, thanks to restaurant owner B.J. Fletcher. Call (229) 432-1124 for more information and get ready to laugh until it hurts.

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board