Last week, I wrote about the lack of structured activities for D.C.’s youth this summer and provided some alternatives. A few additional suggestions have come in since, including three free soccer and arts camps in Wards 1 and 7 [PDF] and a long list of art-related activities.
I also reported that the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation was about to relaunch its D.C. Summer Fun website. The revamped site is up now, and it includes updated information on camps, library programs and job opportunities for youth. It even has this D.C. Summer Fun commercial that makes anyone sweltering in today’s heat long for the city’s swimming pools:
Nearly $17 million cut from summer youth programs in D.C. and 8,000 less D.C. summer teen jobs means thousands more youth will have no structured activities this summer, reportsWAMU‘s Kavitha Cardoza. Summer break is just weeks away, and D.C.’s parks and library systems are preparing for a potential flood of kids to their free and reduced programming.
“There’s a huge awareness in the youth-serving community that we’re going to be called on to do more with less,” said Rebecca Renard, the D.C. Public Library’s summer program coordinator.
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Swimming is a cool, cheap summer activity.
Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman John Stokes said that “the budget is not what it used to be, so you have to make lemonade with lemons.” DPR is teaming up with other agencies, businesses and community organizations to provide programs, and DPR is also organizing a comprehensive online guide to city activities.
“I’ve been here for eight years, and it’s never been this intense, where every week about 20 agency heads get together in a room and ask, ‘Who’s going to offer what in the summer? How are we going to make sure these areas are covered nonstop?’” Stokes said.
So what is available this summer to D.C. youth who can’t afford expensive alternatives? Here are a few low-cost activities: