Friday kicked off first Mayor's Night - KCTV5 News

Friday kicked off first Mayor's Night, program meant to keep kids out of trouble

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Friday was the first Mayor's Night of this year. It's a program to try to keep teens from getting into trouble.

The high school-aged event at the Brush Creek Community Center, located at 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd., was packed. Many were denied entry because the location hit capacity.

Many of the five Mayor's Nights locations for middle and high school kids saw good crowds. The Tony Aguirre Center was among the hosting locations for Friday and Saturday night.

Most of the boys favored hoops over the dance club, but they also liked having options.

"Play basketball, soccer, dance, concession stand," said 6th grader Maxwell Hill.

"Play basketball, hang out with my cousin, go swimming," said another 6th grader, Robert Wells.

One mom said it was a win-win for her and her seventh-grade daughter, who would otherwise be stuck at home or chaperoned by mom with just one or two girlfriends.

"She likes to come see her friends and they get to mingle without their parents being there, but they still have supervision and I know that they stay in the facility and they don't go outside and aren't doing what they shouldn't be doing. So I like it because it's safe," Sofia Morales said.

Brush Creek was the only location that solely allowed high school students and it was spilling over with teens looking to get in, kids who started lining up at 6 p.m. for the 8 p.m. to midnight event.

"A lot of those kids there - their parents attended Hot Summer Nights," Raul Murguia said.

Murguia has been supervising youth programs since Mayor Emanuel Cleaver started what he called Hot Summer Nights two decades ago. Murguia's measure of success is not a night, but a generation.

"We intervened with those guys, but there was only so much we could do because we started with them at a later age. But they're making sure their kids, they're doing for their kids what they couldn't themselves," he said.

Murguia said the idea of free night activities for kids has faltered during some mayoral tenures, so he is happy to see the renewed focus. He'd like to see it continue with some consistency, because he strongly believes it's an effort that will see the best payoff over an extended period of time.

Mayor's Nights run through the summer and are offered as a safe and fun event for Kansas City youth. New this year: all attendees had to register for a free official Mayor's Nights VIP Card that gets them into the events.

The first events kick off the weekend of May 24-25 at the following community centers:

Brush Creek (High School)
Gregg/Klice (Middle School)
Hillcrest (MS on Fri and HS on Sat)
Tony Aguirre (MS on Fri and HS on Sat)
Kansas City North (MS on Fri and HS on Sat)

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