Philly expands summer activities to help young people stay busy in creative ways

Joyful kids were welcomed into the pool for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic closed city amenities at the James Finnegan Playground in Southwest Philadelphia on June 30, 2021

File photo: Joyful kids were welcomed into the pool for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic closed city amenities at the James Finnegan Playground in Southwest Philadelphia on June 30, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The City of Philadelphia is promoting opportunities for youth to channel their energy into creativity this summer.

Deputy Mayor Vanessa Garrett Hartley said everything from summer job opportunities to extended hours at Police Athletic League centers are available to give younger city residents a place to spend their summer in safe surroundings.

There are still openings for summer camps that can start as low as $20 a week at city recreation centers. The city’s camp finder app shows 113 currently available throughout Philadelphia.

The city is also working with hundreds of community-based organizations to provide free summer programs, and space is still available with a registration deadline of June 23. The programs will run from July 1 to Aug. 19, with more information available on the city’s website.

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The WorkReady program is also offering summer jobs for youth 12 and older with more than 8,000 positions available. Young people can also fill out an application online. The program will have at least three days a week of in-person participation required. While proof of vaccination is not generally required to apply, some workplaces may require vaccinations at their specific locations.

Depending on the program, WorkReady participants can earn up to $1,000 based on the number of projects and milestones completed during the process.

A fixture in Philadelphia is the Police Athletic League, or PAL, which offers a safe haven and opportunities for youth with Police Department mentors. This summer the program is expanding, adding Saturday hours and extended Thursday hours.

There are 16 PAL locations in Philadelphia. They have about two dozen activities and special events available for youth, ranging from traditional athletic activities to math challenges and homework clubs.

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