PORTAGE | Summer for high school and middle school students can be a much-anticipated break from routines.
But, it can also mean days of boredom, sleeping in or sitting in their rooms playing video games.
Portage Township Schools will make an effort to get kids off the couch and out of the house this summer by offering Program 240 from June 18 to Aug. 1.
Students will be offered activities for 240 minutes, twice a week at no cost.
"We canvassed major youth providers and there is a real need to fill the void," Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia said about the lack of programs available for those age groups during the summer.
The program will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for high school students at Portage High School and during the same hours Mondays and Wednesdays for middle school students at Willowcreek Middle School. Bus service will be available, and participating students will be offered lunch at the schools through the Summer Feeding Program.
There also will be behavior expectations that students must agree to in order to participate, Portage High School Assistant Principal Jennifer Sass said.
"This will be a great opportunity for kids to do some positive things," Sass said.
Staff members have outlined a skeleton of activities but want students to have input on what they want to do each session, Sass said.
Activities range from field trips to a bowling alley, zoo, miniature golf and challenge education courses and the beach. Also on the list is use of the gym, pool and media center, board game tournaments, whiffle ball, tennis and other games.
Sass said the high school program will have a community service activity worked into the sessions.
The district will use its all-call system to contact students each Sunday night to remind them of Program 240 and the upcoming week's activities.
Officials initially thought they would have to charge students fees for some activities, such as field trips. However, the district instead will turn to the business community to raise funds to sponsor those activities.