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Want to get away from the kids? Try Date Night Great Night

To all the parents who've spent extra time with their kids during the holidays:

Want to get away?

The Village of Hamburg Parks and Recreation Department has a program called Date Night Great Night which will allow you to do just that on selected Friday nights through April. The installments, for children in grades K-6, run from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the Hamburg Youth Center, 200 Prospect Ave.; the cost is $30 per child, with $5 for each additional child per family. There is a pajama party next Friday, Jan. 5. Find the complete schedule at villagehamburg.com/recreation.

"We want to emphasize that you don't have to be a village resident to come and use the program," said Jacie (pronounced Jay-sea) Gavin, the recreation attendant who helped devise the program about three years ago.

Q. Why start this program?

Date Night Great Night costs parents about the same as a babysitter but gives kids lots more choices than at home, says Jacie Gavin, the recreation attendant who helped devise the program about three years ago.

Before this, we had a different Friday night program for middle school students – and we still do our dances with them on Friday nights once a month – but we weren't having the turnout we used to have for our normal hangouts. We were trying to think of something where we could get more people to utilize the facility and thought that parents are looking for more ways to get out and about. Do they want to go out to dinner and see a movie or do they need to get some errands done? If they trust us enough during the day with their kids with after school programs, craft classes, Spanish classes, things like that, it's the same staff. They can come and drop off their kids for a few hours and get those types of things done for a fee they pay a babysitter, or less than that.

We have more things than they may have at their house. We have air hockey and bubble hockey and foosball and a bunch of different amenities.

Q. What will the pajama party on be like?

Every time we do this, kids are welcome to wear their pajamas if that's more comfortable. We'll have activities based around the pajama theme. The Hamburg Library comes each time, and they do a book, a craft and a small activity based around the theme. The kids don't have to partake in that part of the night but it's there if they want.

Q. How does it work?

We have a sign-up form and do ask for some important information: the child’s name, their age, if there’s any pertinent health information we would need to know about; if there are any allergies, asthma, things like that; emergency contact phone number. Parents can call (649-6170) to find out how many spots are left but they have to come in to register. As long as we still have room, parents can come in the night of, register and make a payment. We can take up to 80 kids and we’ve probably had 20, 25 most nights.

Q. What does the youth center feature?

We have two Xbox machines on the main floor with 12 different games. We have a basketball arcade game and a Skee Ball arcade game, three foosball tables, a pool table, an air hockey table and a Chexx bubble hockey machine. We have a TV and a snack bar on the main floor. The kids are welcome to bring their own snack, though we ask no nut products because we have kids that come who have peanut allergies. We also have our upstairs area that has a carpeted section with a chalkboard, Legos and board games and some lower-energy activities. The top floor has a similar carpeted setup with chairs and couches, a TV, chessboards and checkers, cards.

Q. What movie is on tap next week?

We'll probably be watching "Frozen" or some winter-themed movie.

Q. What sort of reaction have you had from the kids and their parents?

They like it. A lot of the kids that do it do our after-school programs but it's expanded out because they've told their friends and families. They enjoy it. We've had parents come and drop their kids off and say, "We're not going out." They just want a night at home to themselves or they've got to get some stuff down around the house. We have a lot of repeaters.

It's a great program. There are activities that the kids aren't going to be able to do at home. If you call a babysitter, what are the kids going to do, sit and watch TV? Here, they have activities.

email: refresh@buffnews.com

Twitter: @BNrefresh

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