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Stringer proposes free summer camp in three-part ‘Summer in the City’ agenda to kick off a Comeback Summer for NYC kids and families

With federal stimulus dollars on the way, Stringer proposes free summer day camp, guaranteed SYEP, and launch of NYC Tutoring Corps to focus our recovery on kids and families.

I believe in our kids because I’ve seen how resilient they are, and if we give them the academic resources, economic opportunities, and fun activities they need, they will continue to grow and thrive.

— Scott Stringer

New York, NY – With the summer months approaching and the end of the school year in sight, New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer today announced part one of a three-part “Summer in the City” agenda to help our city’s kids and families recover from the pandemic with a safe, fun, and productive summer.

At Coleman Playground on the Lower East Side today, Stringer outlined a vision to mobilize federal stimulus dollars to deliver a Comeback Summer centered on providing relief, fun, and support for young New Yorkers and their families this summer and proposed:

“After more than a year spent mostly in the apartment, my boys need some time outside — and I think most parents would say the same for their children,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “This pandemic has taken a real toll on so many of our young people, especially those who didn’t have the tools for remote learning or easy access to green space. But I believe in our kids because I’ve seen how resilient they are, and if we give them the academic resources, economic opportunities, and recreational activities they deserve, they will continue to grow and thrive. We have a chance to bring fun back for our kids — but we need a plan to make it happen. To ensure a full recovery for our children and deliver some relief to working families, our City must mobilize the resources from President Biden’s American Rescue Act for a real Comeback Summer.”

Parts 2 and 3 of Stringer’s Summer in the City agenda will be released later this week. Stringer’s proposals unveiled today include:

Free Day Camps & Recreational Activities for Kids

Stringer proposed that the City partner with community-based organizations (CBOs) that have deep roots in our neighborhoods and long histories of providing engaging programs for New Yorkers of all ages to expand free day camps and other summer recreational activities, with a focus on serving communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Many CBOs are already staffed with social workers and other health specialists — in addition to youth workers and educators — who are trained in trauma-informed care, which has taken on a new urgency after more than a year of COVID restrictions. By leveraging existing contractual relationships through procurement amendments or negotiated acquisitions and federal stimulus dollars, the City can move quickly to expand a range of free and affordable programs. To start, the City can immediately reverse proposed cuts to programs like School’s Out NYC (SONYC), which serves more than 43,000 middle school students in grades 6-8 during the summer. 

Restore Parks Funding and Turn Recreational Centers into Summer Hubs

Many of the Parks Department’s three-dozen recreational centers have been closed and repurposed in recent months as testing and vaccination sites, other COVID-19 service hubs, and daycare centers. Moving forward, Stringer called for them to be utilized as hubs for expanded summer day camp offerings.

Moreover, to ensure full services and maintenance, the City should restore full Parks Department funding and hire additional staff as outlined by “Play Fair” coalition, including by reversing cuts for city park workers and gardeners, maintenance and workerations, the Parks Opportunity Program, Nature and Resiliency, Parks Equity Initiative, and Urban Park Rangers.

Double Down on the Summer Youth Employment Program

Connecting our teenagers to paid job opportunities is critical and will serve to address the developmental skill-building needs of adolescents, re-engage youth following a year of mostly remote learning, and enable them to earn money to help their families and reactivate the local economy.

Stringer proposed that the City actively reach out to large employers to create more opportunities and ramp up the SYEP program by leveraging new federal stimulus dollars so any student who wants a job or internship can be connected to one. Moreover, the City should work with the Center for Youth Employment to extend more slots to CUNY students nearing graduation. This will help these students connect with potential employers and develop a career pathway.

Tutoring for All Who Want It

After a year of remote learning, many students will need individualized instruction to help reach their academic goals. In addition to funding CBOs well positioned to offer tutoring and fun, project-based learning, the City should pilot a volunteer NYC Tutoring Corps — as Stringer recently proposed in his comprehensive education plan — that connects students of all ages with college students or high-school seniors proficient in specific subject areas for one-on-one tutoring that can happen either in person or online.

Expand Summer Grab-and-Go Meals at All City Schools

Stringer proposed expanding the city’s Community Meals program to more sites, providing “grab-and-go” meals to young people and families throughout the summer months.

Stringer also called to expand the variety, diversity and quality of grab-and-go meals, including ensuring wide availability of Halal and Kosher meals, and to expand outreach to families in need — including by making pick-up times earlier (starting at 7am instead of 9am) as other cities have done, to better serve working parents.