Kids Nite Out provides fun alternative

Program gets children together for activities

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A chance to breathe for kids and a chance for adults to take a breath, the arrival of Kids Nite Out in Highlands Ranch is making Saturday nights fun for everyone.

Taking over Northridge Recreation Center, 8801 S. Broadway, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturdays since Oct. 5, the program provides a fun, active, inexpensive night out for kids in grades 1-6 and also gives parents time to reconnect or take a night off.

For Ann Ward, the program has been equally great for her 10-year-old daughter Maui as well as for her and her husband, who have already registered a couple rare date nights.

“The first time we caught a movie and then the second time we went out to dinner,” said Ward. “We are glad they have this available. Whenever we feel we want to go out and do something (on a Saturday) we can, and (Maui) really enjoys it.

“I don’t know how long it will last, but I hope it runs every Saturday from now on. It’s hard to find a babysitter you can trust with your child.”

If other area Kids Nite Out programs are any indication, it will likely be around for a while. The organization, which is now in 12 cities, was founded in 1991 in Westminster, and according to CEO Brian Bissell, the get-togethers in Littleton, Castle Rock and Westminster are drawing between 200 and 350 kids a week each.

“Highlands Ranch is still ramping up,” Bissell said. “So far we have served 155 families and 271 kids over the first five Saturdays. It’s getting there. We are doing the best we can to be a good community partner ... The goal is really simple. We want kids to have a fun, safe and active time any time they are with us.”

Each week there is a different theme, from “Luau Party” to “Carnival” to “Halloween,” and staff dresses the part making it different and fun. Over the three-hour block, kids also get the opportunity to swim, play organized games such as basketball, kickball and football, and participate in relay contests, dance parties or games like Twister, all while some of their own selected favorite music is piping over the airwaves.

The organization adheres to a ratio of no more than 20 students to one staff member and ensures that all staff members have had proper background checks, are trained in emergency preparedness and have a genuine interest in kids.

For more information, visit www.kidsniteout.org or www.hrcaonline.org

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