By Kara Hallissey, Staff Writer
(May 25, 2018) High school graduates will have more than two weeks to take part in free activities in Ocean City courtesy of Play It Safe, which kicks off on May 30 and continue until June 15.
Now in its 29th year, Play It Safe was created to prevent seniors from abusing alcohol and other drugs while celebrating their high school graduations in the resort by providing free activities to teens.
The 2018 program will officially begin Tuesday, May 29, with a breakfast at the Dough Roller on Third Street and the Boardwalk.
The first event is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 30. Graduates can participate in a miniature golf tournament at Nick’s Maui Golf on 57th Street from 12-3 p.m. Play It Safe activities are scheduled until Friday, June 15, with team relay races on the Boardwalk and karaoke on the beach, which will both take place at Third Street from 7-9 p.m.
The Ocean City Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Committee coordinated the 2018 program with support from the Worcester County Health Department, the Town of Ocean City and local businesses and organizations.
Approximately 45 events are planned, including kayaking, basketball, pizza-eating contests, dodgeball, paddleboarding, karaoke, bowling, laser tag, beach volleyball, miniature golf and T-shirt tie-dying.
Participants can also visit Splash Mountain Water Park at Jolly Roger on 30th Street and ride the Tidal Wave roller coaster at Trimper’s Rides and Amusements.
“Jolly Roger’s Splash Mountain is always a popular event with the kids,” said Donna Greenwood, chairwoman of the Ocean City Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Committee and a Play It Safe volunteer. “We have four new events this year. There are relay races, graduates can ride the Speedworld go-karts at Jolly Roger and participate in a sand castle building contest. There will be a scavenger hunt on Dorchester Street with a whole list of Boardwalk trivia questions.”
Graduates will receive T-shirts, food, drinks, giveaways and prizes at competitive events. Prizes have been donated by local businesses.
“All of the events are free and gives them an opportunity to do something safe, but fun,” Greenwood said. “The whole thrust of our programs are to keep these kids out of trouble while they are here and send them home safely to their parents.”
Graduates can ride the resort bus for a $5 reduced rate fare. Tickets can be purchased at: the Boardwalk Train Station, South First Street; Boardwalk Train Station, 27th Street; City Hall, Third Street and Baltimore Ave.; Public Safety Building, 65th Street, bayside; the convention center on 40th Street and Northside Park Ocean City Recreation & Parks facility, 125th Street, bayside.
Teens should take their purchased tickets to any Play It Safe event to receive a wristband to ride the Ocean City bus.
In 2017, a total of 6,198 graduates participated in the event. More than 186,000 teenagers have signed up for Play It Safe’s free activities since its inception 29 years ago.
“It is an opportunity to be with their friends and meet new people,” Greenwood said. “They can have fun without the use of alcohol or drugs. Many graduates are looking to have fun and celebrate maybe for the last time with high school friends. It is an opportunity to make wonderful memories they can keep for a lifetime.”
Graduates may find more information about Play It Safe at www.playitsafeoceancity.com, by calling the Worcester County Health Department at 410-632-1100 or by attending an event. On Facebook, search “Play It Safe Ocean City.”