Ocean City Today

Celebrating 28 years of Play It Safe program

More than 6,000 students attended three-week-long events throughout resort
By Kara Hallissey | Jun 29, 2017

(June 30, 2017) More than 6,000 high school graduates took advantage of free resort activities in June courtesy of the Play It Safe program.

The 2017 program officially began May 30, with a breakfast at the Big Easy on 60. Events for the 28th Play It Safe season kicked off the next day and ran through June 16.

The activities are designed to prevent recently graduated high school seniors from abusing alcohol and other drugs while celebrating in the resort.

This year, 6,198 graduates participated in Play It Safe events, a decrease from 2016 when 7,228 took part in the free activities.

Two events were cancelled because of rain this year, although teens had 37 other activities to pursue.

Approximately 126 participated during the first week, May 31 to June 2. During the second week, June 3-9, 3,548 teens took part in the activities. The final week, June 10-16, 2,524 graduates came out to events.

“It was very light the first week,” said Donna Greenwood, chairwoman of the Ocean City Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Committee and a Play It Safe volunteer. “Kids from Pennsylvania and Virginia graduated late this year. I saw loads of kids on the Boardwalk [the last few weeks] after Play It Safe was over. Also, I heard there were not as many senior week reservations this year.”

Among the events held this summer were kayaking, basketball, tennis, pizza-eating contests, dodgeball, paddle boarding, Karaoke, bowling, laser tag, beach volleyball, indoor and outdoor miniature golf and T-shirt tie-dying.

Participants also visited Splash Mountain Water Park at Jolly Roger on 30th Street and had the chance to ride the Tidal Wave roller coaster at Trimper’s Rides and Amusements.

Graduates received T-shirts, food, drinks, giveaways and prizes at competitive events. Prizes were donated by local businesses.

The most popular event was laser tag and miniature golf at Planet Maze on June 6. A total of 393 graduates spent time at the 33rd Street business. Karaoke on June 4 saw the next highest total with 375 teens participating.

“The kids were very appreciative of what we do for them and they really enjoyed themselves,” Greenwood said.

Again this year, graduates could ride the resort bus for a $5 reduced rate fare. Teens then brought their purchased bus tickets to any Play It Safe event to receive a wristband to ride the Ocean City bus.

A total of 3,763 tickets were purchased. Of those, 3,176 were redeemed for wristbands.

OC Screams on Worcester Street in downtown Ocean City sponsored the reduced rate bus coupons, Greenwood said.

“It is a collaborative event between the Town of Ocean City, the Worcester County Health Department, our [Ocean City Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention] committee, volunteers and the business community,” Greenwood said. “Our business community allows us to have these events at their locations and they donate prizes. They are so good with the kids and it’s a true goodwill gesture.”

Since its inception, more than 186,000 teenagers have signed up for Play It Safe’s free activities.

Greenwood said organizers are grateful to Play It Safe volunteers and would not be able to have the program without them.

“We had great volunteers who worked well with the kids,” Greenwood said. “OCPD Auxiliary Unit volunteers were at almost every event.”

For more information about Play It Safe, visit www.playitsafeoceancity.com, or call the Worcester County Health Department at 410-632-1100. On Facebook, search “Play It Safe Ocean City.”

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