By Alana Easterling
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
Who said there’s nothing to do in Lansing?
Recreational programs for the youth, festivals, attractions, and more are taking place throughout the summer, making a claim that Lansing isn’t as boring as some residents believe it to be.
“Over 150 things to do in Lansing, and only 48 hours in a weekend,” is this year’s marketing campaign for the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau (GLCVB). The GLCVB is a company whose job is to attract tourists from surrounding cities to Lansing — to convince others that Lansing is indeed a fun city.
Not everyone believes that. Kaylen English, a Lansing resident for four years and 2016 Michigan State University graduate, doesn’t think there is much to do at all in Lansing. The lack of activities is one of the main reasons she is choosing to move back to Detroit soon.
“Since I’ve moved up here for school, I’ve felt the same way,” says English. “There’s never anything going on in the actual city of Lansing. The only time I have fun is when I’m doing something the school has put on, or the students. I can’t see myself building my life here, which is why I’m going back home in August.”
“It’s even worse during the summer,” English said.
Manager and Leisure Marketer for the GLCVB, Lori Lanspeary disagrees. Lanspeary says that there’s something going on every weekend, and even activities after work hours during the week.
“Don’t ever say there’s nothing to do in town. There’s a ton of things for adults, children, and families to do in Lansing,” says Lanspeary. “Lansing has over 60 festivals that go on throughout the year, a multitude of summer programs, and events given for children, boat shows, museums, bar and grills, and so much more.”
The GLCVB puts out The Greater Lansing Michigan Visitor’s Guide every year with a list of everything going on in the city of Lansing. To get the word out they have billboards, commercial spots on Comcast channels, and they keep their website updated with activities, resources, maps, etc.
Another Lansing resident, Bruce Williams, agrees with English on Lansing not having much to do, but he feels this way for his children as well. Williams says there isn’t much offered for the youth of Lansing to keep them out of trouble.
“During the school year, my children are a part of after school sports and activities, but I have friends and families whose children’s schools don’t even offer that,” says Williams.
James McAbee, who is the unit director for the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing (BGC) as well as a product of the Boys and Girls Club, suggests otherwise.
“The Boys and Girls club was built in September of 1990, and we’ve been here ever since,” says McAbee. “We offer physical education, recreation, arts, and computer activities.”
The Boys and Girls Club of Lansing is an affordable, safe place for children to go to develop leadership skills, motor skills, and social skills. It’s open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and welcomes children ages 7-17 from Lansing and surrounding cities. Membership for children during the school year is just $10 for the entire year, and $15 for the summer semester. Visit BGC of Lansing’s Web site to get more information on location, other activities offered, and much more.
The BGC of Lansing isn’t the only summer program offered in the Lansing area. There are other organizations parents and guardians can look into for their children such as the YMCA and the Snell Tower Recreation Center.
Karl Erickson, an assistant professor at the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and Recreation at Michigan State stresses how important recreation is for youth, and a community as a whole.
“Once the foundational things are taken care of for a community, recreational programming should be next on the list of priorities,” said Erickson. “Recreational programming promotes unity amongst residents, and that’s what essentially makes a community. It links children across ages, as well as adults.”
Erickson says there is evidence that supports the theory of any organized or structural activities having a direct link to social behavior, and physical health for participating children.
“Several decades worth of work that focuses on child participation in recreation summarizes potential benefits such as reduced rates of obesity, linkages to continued physically active lifestyles in adulthood, better mental health, increased self-esteem, reduced depression and anxiety, development of initiative, an increase in peer support social skills, and higher grades.”
To find out information on more activities, programs, events, support groups for both children and adults, or just to stay updated visit any of the sites previously listed, Al!ve Programming, and/or Lansing Parks and Recreation.