PHILADELPHIA — As Philadelphia families plan for summer, City leaders today announced a robust line up of summer programming, including thousands of summer camp opportunities, PlayStreets, summer jobs, and reading and learning programs.
“Serving and supporting our city’s children is a year-round priority for the City of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I’m proud that we’re able to offer so many opportunities for children and youth this summer. Whether it’s at summer camp, a library, or at a job, caregivers can act now to sign their children and older youth up for a great summer of learning and fun.”
To help families find programs and activities to be active and engaged this summer, the Office of Children and Families (OCF) launched PlayItSafePHL, a one-stop digital hub of summer information and will be updated regularly as new opportunities are available. Among the OCF departments offering summer programming are Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR), the Free Library of Philadelphia (Free Library), OCF Prevention Services, and the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS).
“We’re excited to offer thousands of opportunities for learning and fun this summer, including many summer jobs for teens and young adults,” said Acting Managing Director and incoming OCF Deputy Mayor Vanessa Garrett Harley, “Summer is an important time for young people to be active, learn new skills, and build friendships. Now more than ever, our summer programs also play a critical role in helping to ensure child and youth safety. We are working with our partners at the Philadelphia Police Department and the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) to ensure that our children enjoy a safe, healthy and fun summer. The City and its partners look forward to welcoming children and youth to one of the many in-person programs you’ll find at phila.gov/PlayItSafePHL.”
“Philadelphia families are looking for ways to keep their kids engaged, safe, and having fun all summer long,” said Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke. “Our City services come alive for children in the summer. From swimming pools and summer camps to libraries and teen jobs, families can find summer programs for all ages right in their neighborhood. Visit phila.gov/PlayItSafePHL to get connected to summer fun.”
The Philadelphia Police Department also joined to announce the summer programs for the Police Athletic League. “With the summer months soon upon us, it is critical that we continue to work together with our community partners and City agencies to ensure that Philly kids have access to safe havens where they can learn, play, and have fun,” said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Altovise Love-Craighead. “The PPD provides many opportunities for our kids to engage, including our Youth Advisory Commission meetings, as well as our 16 beautiful PAL centers, where we have an exciting schedule of summer programming in store!”
Here is a summary of this summer’s free or low-cost in-person summer activities for children and youth:
- PPR summer camps at recreation centers across the City to provide 6,500 opportunities.
- OCF’s network of Out-of-School Time community-based providers to provide 5,800 opportunities.
- PPR PlayStreets will serve meals to hundreds of thousands of children and youth.
- Free Library’s Summer of Wonder and Science in the Summer programs will provide free reading and science activities.
- PPR Pools will open pools and provide free swim lessons.
- DHS will provide its IPS program and Community Evening Resource Centers are open.
“Supporting our city’s children is a year-round priority for DHS,” said DHS Commissioner Kimberly Ali. “We are grateful for our City and community partnerships that give young people the chance to stay active, be adventurous, explore new skills, and build friendships.”
“Every year, the Free Library helps reduce summer learning loss with a ‘Summer of Wonder’. The free program encourages children, teens, and adults to read and engage in literacy-based activities all summer. This year’s theme is ‘Everyone. Everywhere,’ and we look forward to welcoming all of Philadelphia to participate in person and online,” said Kelly Richards, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
In addition to summer programming, there are thousands of ways to earn money this summer, including:
- Paid summer experiences for 8,000 older youth through City supported WorkReady, managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network.
- Lifeguards with PPR
- Pool Maintenance Attendants with PPR
- Seasonal Maintenance Attendants with PPR
- Recreational Specialist Instructors with PPR working at summer camps and play parks.
“Parks & Rec staff are among Philly’s summer heroes,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “From keeping residents safe while they cool down in a public pool to bringing playful learning to campers in every part of the City, working at Parks & Rec is a way to make a big difference in the lives of kids in your community.”
Here are five things residents can do right now to get ready for summer:
- Apply to host a Playstreet.
- Enroll in a Parks & Rec summer day camp.
- Get a summer job: Become a lifeguard or apply for WorkReady.
- Find a community-based summer program.
- Learn more at gov/PlayItSafePHL
The William Penn Foundation joined the PlayItSafe launch to announce its investments in summer programming, including support for Playstreets and WorkReady. The Foundation’s efforts also include support for many other free Out-of-School Time summer programs provided by community groups around the city that help children build academic and social-emotional skills.
“We understand that many children want summer to feel very different from the school year, but it can still be an important time for exploration and skill-building. No matter their family incomes or their zip codes, all children deserve access to fun learning experiences when school is out,” says Elliot Weinbaum, Director of the Great Learning program at the William Penn Foundation. “The summer learning programs receiving support from the Foundation this year have a track record of successfully supporting children, even through the pandemic. We are pleased to continue to support these programs, which will provide free access to a wide range of learning and summer fun to 29,000 children and youth this summer and next.”
Programs are prepared to make this a safe, fun summer and will follow applicable COVID-19 health and safety protocols.