Council Learns Play It Safe Broke Attendance Mark

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City’s Play It Safe program had a record-breaking year, with over 13,000 participants enjoying the free events offered throughout the month of June.

 The Play It Safe Program occurs every year during the month of June, providing fun, alcohol-free events for the recent high-school graduates to participate in.

The mission of Play It Safe has remained the same throughout the years – “encourage high school graduates to make informed, healthy choices while having responsible fun without the use of alcohol and other drugs.”

Donna Greenwood, chairwoman of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Committee, came before the Mayor and Council on Monday night to present them with the encouraging statistics from this June’s Play It Safe.

According to Greenwood, 13,148 high school graduates came out during June 1-22, marking the greatest number of participants the program has ever seen. Twenty-six different states were represented this year, proving the scope of Play It Safe has expanded far beyond the limits of Maryland and Delaware. Seventy-five thousand Passports to Fun were distributed to help spread the word among the June Bugs. Greenwood maintained that the 57 events held could not have happened without the help of the 97 volunteers and over 300 participating businesses.

Greenwood proudly noted another record-breaking statistic, commenting on the success of the website. According to Greenwood, since May, there have been 429,039 hits. The frequently update website highlights all of the events offered throughout the month of June. Pictures from the events and pictures of the winners are also posted throughout the month.

With 57 fun-filled, free events its no wonder the June Bugs came out to enjoy all that Play It Safe had to offer this year. This year’s events included a beach dance, karaoke, windsurfing and kayak relays, bowling, miniature golf, volleyball, basketball tournaments, pancake eating contests, sandcastle contests, and much more.

Some new events were introduced this year, including the kick-off dance on the beach and the free reggae concert. Weather agreed with Play It Safe this year, resulting in no cancellations.

“We’re hoping to get some new events for next year,” Greenwood said, adding that they hope to bring back paintball, which was widely popular among the graduates.

Greenwood explained to the Mayor and Council that it takes $35,000 per year to operate Play It Safe, not including the $13,000 in costs for the posters and passports that help promote the event.

Greenwood noted that Play It Safe could not operate without the help of the town, volunteers, businesses and all those involved.

“I want to thank you for the support of the town as well as all the other departments,” Greenwood said to the Mayor and Council.

She also gave special thanks to the businesses and organizations around town that contribute to Play It Safe.

“We especially want to thank the bus drivers, those poor souls,” Greenwood said, reminding the council they transport the June Bugs safely around town all month long.

Greenwood also noted the increase in media attention that Play It Safe garnered this year.

“I think that is so terrific to get that all out there,” she said.

Joe Hall, representing Hall’s Restaurant, a major supporter of Play It Safe, and Bill Wheately, the website designer, were presented with plaques in appreciation for their commitment to the Play It Safe program.

Mayor Rick Meehan thanked Greenwood and the Play It Safe committee for their hard work and dedication.

“This comes from parents everywhere, thank you,” he said.  “Our goal in Ocean City is for them

to arrive safely, be safe while they’re here, and return safely.”