Assemblyman hails launch of Safe Summer Program
Most everyone remembers the phrase “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” from childhood. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Schenectady, is hoping that phrase still bears weight with his Safe Summer Program.
Tedisco and police departments in both Schenectady and Saratoga counties launched their Safe Summer Program on Wednesday, July 21. In its 13th year, the program rewards kids for practicing safe bicycling, skateboarding and roller-blading by wearing helmets. If a child is spotted wearing a helmet by a cop in participating municipalities, the cop will issue a “good ticket” for a free ice cream at any Stewart’s Shops, Ben & Jerry’s or Friendly’s.
“Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons to spend time outdoors, and I don’t think there is a child around who doesn’t scream for ice cream. I want kids to have fun this summer but I also want them to be safe. My Safe Summer Program reminds kids to wear their helmets while rewarding good behavior with coupons for free ice cream,” said Tedisco.
Tedisco said the program has been enormously successful, with thousands of “good tickets” handed out since its inception. He mentioned that though there was once a time when an interaction between a child and officer may have been tense, now children look forward to spotting cops when out skating and riding.
Tedisco said he hopes that not only will the program provide an incentive for children to practice safe riding, but will also enforce a friendly relationship between kids and cops. He said kids now frequently approach cops saying things like, “Look! I’m wearing my helmet, can I get a free ice cream?”
The Safe Summer Program is made possible thanks to the Capital Region SAFE KIDS Coalition, with donations from participating businesses Stewart’s Shops, Ben & Jerry’s and Friendly’s.