PHILADELPHIA — As Philadelphia families plan for summer, the Office of Children and Families (OCF) and partners have launched a summer resource campaign, PlayItSafePHL, highlighting fun and enriching opportunities for children, teens, and families. This summer features the return of some favorite in-person activities, including pools and group sports. Learning and enrichment activities will serve about 30,000 children and youth across School District sites, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation camps, WorkReady and Playstreets, community based organizations providing Out-of-School Time programs, and Police Athletic League activities.
Mayor Jim Kenney says, “Serving and supporting our city’s children is a year-round priority for the City of Philadelphia. I’m proud that we’ve been able to restore the summer opportunities and activities that children and families look forward to every year, and I hope that every child has a great summer of learning and fun.”
To help families find programs and activities to be active and engaged this summer, OCF created PlayItSafePHL, a one-stop digital hub of summer information.
“We’re proud to offer many opportunities for learning, recreation, and fun this summer,” says OCF Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa, “Summer is an important time for young people to stay active, have adventures, explore new skills, and build friendships. This wouldn’t be possible without the City departments and partners who have worked hard this spring to give Philadelphia a great summer. We are looking forward to welcoming children and youth to one of the many in-person programs you’ll find at phila.gov/PlayItSafePHL.”
Here is a summary of this summer’s free or low-cost in-person summer activities for children and youth:
- Out-of-School Time Network summer programs at community-based sites and in School District of Philadelphia buildings, in addition to providing enrichment activities for 1st-8th grade students in the School District’s summer learning program.
- Parks & Rec summer camps.
- Police Athletic League activities.
- Playstreets supported by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Last year, more than 350 Playstreets offered children nutritious meals and safe recreation right on their block, thanks to the support of volunteer PlayStreets Supervisors.
- Free swim lessons at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation outdoor pools.
- School District of Philadelphia Summer Programming
- Paid summer experiences for 8,000 older youth through WorkReady.
“The opportunity to participate in a paid summer work experience is invaluable for our young people,” says Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network. “These critical experiences give our young people the chance to develop their natural talents, build their professional networks, and earn money in responsible and safe ways. We are grateful to the many partners, including the City of Philadelphia, who have committed to supporting summer jobs in our community.”
In addition, The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Summer of Wonder will offer reading challenges, events, and activities for readers of all ages throughout the city. The Free Library will also partner with GSK and The Franklin Institute to offer Science this Summer, featuring at-home experiments and virtual research sessions for children in grades 2-6. This year’s theme is “Be an Engineer!”
“The School District of Philadelphia has long appreciated the way the City of Philadelphia works with us to provide opportunities for our students and their families,” says Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr. Ed.D. “It is always important to have enriching activities that offer safe options for our students each summer, but, as we all continue to deal with the multitude of changes caused by the pandemic, it is especially important to have programming that will allow students to gather with one another and begin to resume some sense of normalcy.”
Here are five things residents can do right now to get ready for summer:
- Apply to host a Playstreet
- Register your student for School District programs
- Enroll in a Parks & Rec summer day camp
- Get a summer job: Become a lifeguard or apply for WorkReady
- Learn more at phila.gov/PlayItSafePHL
Phila.gov/PlayItSafePHL will be updated regularly as new programs are added.
Providers who are interested in being matched with a School District of Philadelphia site to offer non-academic programming should complete this form by May 7. Requests will be vetted by OCF in coordination with the School District of Philadelphia.
Programs are prepared to make this a safe, fun summer and will follow applicable COVID-19 health and safety protocols, such as mask wearing, frequent handwashing, and social distancing.