The school holidays are coming to an end and thanks to an array of almost-daily activities children have had the option of being well entertained.
From showings of new release movies like Aquaman, to discos, didgeridoo making and toga parties, the NT Government funded activities have made for a jam-packed holiday.
Today, about 70 youth along with some of the parents escaped the Katherine heat, attending the YMCA Pool Party.
Shantelle Bishop, 12, Katie Gurney, 13, and Faith Macpherson, 10, have attended as many of the school holiday activities as possible.
On the days without activities, the girls sit themselves in front of the TV. There is little else to do.
“There have been about five or 10 days, I don’t really know, but a few, where there hasn’t been anything for us to do,” Faith Macpherson said.
“So, we sit at home doing nothing. I play my Nintendo Switch. It is pretty boring.
“I normally sit in front of the screen getting more bored by the second,” she said.
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The girls talk excitedly about their school holidays and the activities which have kept them out of the house and with their friends.
“The pool is our favourite because it is so hot,” Katie Gurney said.
“But sometimes there are too many activities on one day and others with none at all, so they should spread them out a bit,” Miss Macpherson said.
Shania Raymond has also been enjoying the school holiday program.
The 21-year-old who lives at Binjari said it was always exciting to get out of the house with her three-year-old son, Leondre Booth, as “there is nothing to do in community and it is hot”.
“We like going to the movie days because it is a great way to cool down and my son doesn’t like staying at home. He likes playing with other kids,” Ms Raymond said.
While the young mum has been making the most of the free school holiday program she said the activities would benefit from catering to adults and children.
“A lot of the time parents go with their kids to these events and there isn’t a whole lot for the parents to do. An activity like fishing or boat tours at the gorge would be good,” Ms Raymond said.
Today, Katherine children could have spent a creative morning decorating an apron inside the cool of the Katherine Public Library with enough time to race to the Katherine Aquatic Centre for three hours of free pool access, music, and food.
“What we have found is attendance of activities really has ebbed and flowed as people have gone away over the Christmas period,” NT YMCA manager of youth programs, Alana Jones said.
“The Y has been here for years and years and we want to have something for young people to do.
“We try to organise a range of activities to cater to different age groups and base the programs on what was popular in previous holidays.
“Parents can drop their kids off and go about their day. It is a great way for them to have some free time and for the kids to get out and be active,” she said.
The YMCA also organises free bus transport from communities like Binjari to break down barriers to engagement.
Eight-year-old Litaya Birdum and six-year-old Daisy Raymond both live at Binjari and attend Mac Farlane Primary School.
While they are both excited for the school year ahead – new class, new teacher – they have enjoyed the freedom of holidays.
“It is good when we get picked up to come to the pool,” Litaya Birdum said, “so we can get out of the hot weather.”
“We also spend time with family going fishing and swimming at Blackhole, and looking for bush food.
“School holidays are a good time to do all that stuff because there is more time,” she said.
During the school holiday there have been a range of activities for school-age children.
The program is NT Government funded and runs until January 26.
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