Letter to the editor: A great skate night

On March 15th the Alamosa County Prevention Coalition put on its third Family Fun Skate Night.  We had 349 youth and adults attend. The Coalition wants to thank everyone who helped make Skate Night a great success. Not only did the children get to skate, they got to participate in other activities. Jamie Dominguez provided food for everyone while his wife, Cristal Ray (or Mama Ray as we call her) taught children how to make tortillas. The Boys & Girls Club provided melty beads so children could make fantastic creations. Hobby Town provided board games and coloring opportunities. SLV Health provided mini corn hole and other games. SLV Behavioral Health Group also sponsored an off-ice activity. So, if children and their parents got cold, they were able to go to one of the locker rooms and warm up while doing something fun together.  There was also hot chocolate and hot cider to keep everyone warm.

We wish to thank Walmart, SLV UPSTREAM! Together and Schulz Realty for their financial support for this and December’s event. The City of Alamosa’s Park and Recreation Department stepped up to the plate with having extra staff available and donating ice passes to the families.  Ef’s Restaurant staff prepared great food and Efrem Ortiz was gracious with being the evening’s DJ.  Members of the SLV Youth Hockey Association assisted with monitoring the ice and donated jerseys as door prizes. We also wish to acknowledge those who assisted at the event whether serving hot chocolate, handing out tickets, guiding people to the activities or participating in the planning committee. Without the support of our community, free events like this are not possible. 

Skate Nights are a way for families to spend an evening together. Research shows that when children spend time with their families or a trusted adult, strong bonds are formed. When a young person has a bonded adult in his or her life, the young person is less likely to turn to drugs, alcohol or other risky behaviors.  Community-wide preventive interventions, such as Family Fun Skate Night, target both risk and protective factors to reduce problem behaviors and promote healthy youth development.

Family-centered activities during the summer months are currently in the planning stages.  Check out our website, AlamosaCares.org.  Our activities are posted on the calendar and on Alamosa County Public Health’s Facebook page.    

The Coalition wants to encourage families and trusted adults to spend quality time together, without your electronic devices. Disconnect to connect with family and friends. Ideas for sharing quality time together with young children and teens may include:  plan, prepare and have a meal or snack together; talk and learn about each other while in the car, or playing traditional games such as Monopoly, Sorry, Yahtzee, Old Maid or Crazy 8. Asking open ended questions, i.e. questions that do not have a “yes” or “no” answer, is another way to learn about your son or daughter’s day.  Ideas for open-ended questions are: 

* “What went well for your today?”

* “Who made you laugh today and why?”     

*  “Tell me about the best part of your day.”

* “What challenged today?”

* “What rule did you almost break today?  Why didn’t you break it?”

* “What do you wish you could have learned about today that you didn’t?”

Bonding is important throughout the course of life, but it particularly important during the middle school and high school years. Staying involved with the kids in Alamosa County and developing these relationships demonstrates caring to the young person. We encourage you to participate in activities in the schools and in the community that involve the youth. If you are a business person and don’t usually work with young people, be innovative and invite a young person to a planning or board meeting. Have him or her give their perspective on an issue that is of interest to your business. I promise, you will learn from the young person; I have!

Helen Sigmond

Communities that Care