SPRINGFIELD — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the kickoff of the 8th annual Summer Nights Program, which aims to ensure children and teens in urban communities have meaningful programming opportunities during the traditional school summer vacation. This year, the Administration increased funding for the program to $2.5 million from $1 million, after beginning the program with $213,000 in 2015 after taking office. This year, the Administration is partnering with over 70 organizations to offer free programming in the following communities: Boston (Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roxbury, and South Boston), Beverly, Brockton, Cambridge, Chelsea, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Methuen, Milton, New Bedford, Quincy, Randolph, Stoughton, Springfield, Taunton, and Worcester.
“Every summer, all students should have opportunities to get outside and socialize with their friends while participating in fun activities in a safe environment,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Since we started the Summer Nights Program in 2015, we have seen tremendous success with an increase of partners and participants each year, and we are proud to again increase the funding of this popular initiative that has been rewarding for all involved.”
“We are so grateful for the strong partnerships our Administration has fostered through the years with passionate organizations, local officials, and public safety agencies, all in support of local communities’ youth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Getting kids outside and engaged during the summer months is incredibly important, and we are really excited to offer over 1,000 events in 25 cities and neighborhoods this year.”
The Summer Nights Program will run through August 20, 2022, and offer activities such as basketball skills, drills and tournaments, volleyball, yoga, dance, martial arts, flag football, corn-hole, fishing, ping-pong, cardio boxing, swimming, cooking, painting, zumba, dodgeball, tennis and nature exploration. Programming also includes sessions on leadership skill building, health and wellness, poetry, academic tutoring, storytelling, animation, music, media production, and career and college readiness programs. For a full list of programming, please visit the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Summer Nights Program webpage.
“The Summer Nights Program gives young people across the Commonwealth great opportunities to participate in outdoor activities in a fun and social environment,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “With the help of our partners, the Baker-Polito Administration has created an extremely successful program, and we are excited to see the thousands of teens throughout the Commonwealth this year participating in a wide range of activities from sports to cooking to college prep.”
“This is one of the most exciting programs that DCR operates because we can see the direct impact it has on the youth that participate,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Doug Rice. “The Summer Nights Program also clearly demonstrates the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to urban youth development and community building, and we are excited to offer another summer of fun, outdoor activities.”
DCR partners with municipalities, organizations, public safety agencies, and others through grants to established urban youth engagement programs that are both free and safe in urban areas during the summer season. Additionally, DCR’s popular Movies in the Parks Series returns and will be offered as part of the Summer Nights Program with family friendly movies being offered at the agency’s Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston, Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, Lowell Heritage State Park, Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester, and Sylvester Baxter Park in Somerville. This year’s featured movies will include Encanto; Frozen 2; Onward; Trolls: World Tour; Uncharted; Sing 2; and Cruella.
“First of all, my continued thanks to Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito for their continued belief and investment in youth development initiatives,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “The Summer Nights Program not only keeps our students engaged in positive activities, but just as important, as they’re having fun, they’re building relationships and learning too.”
“Today’s kick off of the Summer Nights Program means another exciting summer of impactful summer programming that will directly affect the lives of youth of Springfield and other children residing in urban areas throughout the state,” said Senator Adam Gomez (D-Springfield). “This programming connects our urban youth with the outdoors through a variety of engaging activities. I look forward to seeing our youth benefit from what this summer’s programs have to offer!”
“The Summer Nights Program provides exciting opportunities for our youngest residents to explore their passions, remain engaged with their communities, and stay active during the summer,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow). “These fun, community-based activities make a big impact on the youth in Springfield and throughout Western Massachusetts, and I’m honored to support this program.”
“Summer nights Program in Springfield brings a cross section of community based organization to serve the social and emotional needs of youth in a fun and engaging way,” said Representative Orlando Ramos (D-Springfield).
The Summer Nights Program was created to provide young people ages 13-21 in urban areas with the opportunity to participate in recreational and educational activities during the evening hours in a safe environment. During the last eight years, the program has expanded from just four partners when it launched in 2015 to 74 partners today.