City of Tampa 2017 Stay & Play Program Doubles in Attendance
In June of 2015, Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced two significant Parks initiatives to help keep kids safe throughout the summer by extending hours of parks facilities and providing free recreation cards (“Rec Cards”). Since then Stay & Play has doubled its attendance and the rec cards have become increasingly more popular.
“There is no greater investment than in our youth and with the success of Stay & Play we’ve been, not only able to keep kids off the streets, but able to provide programming that offers educational and recreational learning experiences that they wouldn’t necessarily otherwise receive,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “We look forward to continuing and expanding this program and hope to inspire similar programs in cities across the country.”
"Our staff understands the importance of the Stay and Play Program, so they continue to reach out to our teen community to find out what programs they would like,” said Recreation Manager John Allen. "With continuous input from the teens, we have enhanced our program by offering a variety of activities such as culinary arts, musical expression, dance, athletic leagues, field trips, additional pool openings, community partners, guest speakers and professional athlete participation. Also, with the generous donation from the F.E. Lykes Foundation, we were able to expose our teens to the cultural arts by taking them to “Motown The Musical.” With the advanced planning, healthy meals at no cost and marketing on social media, we were able to increase attendance by 50%. Keeping Tampa's teens active and safe is paramount for our community, and we look forward to the program’s ongoing success."
The original goal of ‘Stay & Play’ was to help curb the rising tide of violence as summer started in 2015. We gave kids a choice to be a part of a safe, productive, and fun environment, and it was an overwhelming success.
From May 26, 2017 to August 8, 2017, 32,117 kids participated in the City of Tampa’s “Stay & Play” programming at fourteen different city facilities, and 1,870 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 years old signed up for free “Rec Cards.”
The “Rec Cards” are good for one year and allow for access into facilities and programming, including free After School programs during the school year.
These numbers are in addition to the 2,731 kids who attended the City’s traditional summer camps and the 4,562 who attended the specialty camps.
The Parks and Recreation Department provided a total of 1,277 kids with scholarships totaling over $50,000.
Keeping Our Kids Safe
City of Tampa Police and Parks and Recreation Security worked together throughout the summer to keep all participating youth safe. There were no incidents at any of the nine participating facilities.
Extended Hours Continue This Fall
Building off the summer success, the following recreation centers will be open later hours. Please call for details.
- Copeland Park Community Center, 11001 North 15th Street (975-2743)
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 2200 North Oregon Avenue (259-1667)
- Jackson Heights Community Center, 3310 East Lake Avenue (242-5346)
- Springhill Community Center, 1000 East Eskimo Avenue (274-3314)
Free “Rec Cards” will continue.
Activities will be in a semi-structured environment and vary by location. Those activities will range from sporting activities like basketball to arts and guest speakers.
The anticipated cost for the extension of school-year hours is approximately $100,000.
View some photos from 2017 Stay & Play here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm2n2wFr
For additional information, please contact:
Ashley Bauman, Public Affairs Director