The Office of Mayor Siddiqui, CPS, and the City of Cambridge Partner With Community To Launch Recess!: A Free Summer Experience for Cambridge Youth

People outdoors in a park

RECESS! is a free, safe, in-person summer program designed specifically for and with Cambridge’s middle schoolers to provide new and engaging experiences, as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of the program is to provide social reconnection, learning, and empowerment for rising 6th - 9th graders. RECESS! is brought to the community through a collaboration of the Office of Mayor Siddiqui, Cambridge Public Schools, the Middle School Network (a project of Agenda for Children OST), Friday Night Hype, and the City of Cambridge.

“RECESS! is a great example of how city departments work together to create innovative initiatives for youth in our city,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “I want to thank Mayor Siddiqui and Dr. Turk for their leadership in making this in-person summer programming a reality.”

“This unique collaboration across Cambridge is the first of its kind and comes at a time when we need it the most. We’ve put together an amazing team to create a supportive and structured social environment for youth, co-designed with youth,” said Mayor Siddiqui. “RECESS! is a program our young people will keep coming back to for years to come—not only because it’s a place for them to hang out and be creative, but also because it’s an experience that keeps growing and evolving to meet them where they are.”

With stations of activities and workshops at Hoyt Field and around the Moore Youth Center, RECESS! creates a supervised outdoor venue for young people to reconnect and enjoy fun activities, at no cost to their families. RECESS! is an outdoor 4-week experience that runs 4 days a week, Mondays through Thursdays. Young people and caregivers must sign up on Eventbrite to get a “ticket” for any day they would like to attend. Upon signing up on Eventbrite, participating families are sent a registration form to complete one time.

“I think it's really important for kids to be outside nowadays, especially after the pandemic. It was really fun to be there and enjoy all of the things to do,” said Nia Guerrero, a rising 9th grader who is working as a Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP) intern in the Mayor’s Office this summer. “I really had a great time planning and attending this event. And I'm really glad others are enjoying it as well!”

RECESS! Schedule: Mondays – Thursdays from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM this summer, from Monday July 19th through August 12th. Fridays will be used as rain days for any missed programming.
The specific activities vary from day to day, but the major stations for each day include:

  • Sports and sports conditioning (flag football, kickball, wiffleball, basketball)
  • Parkour Generations obstacle course (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
  • Food and beverages available for all participants
  • Water play (slip and slide, water balloons, etc.)
  • Arts, media, and crafts (painting, drawing, jewelry making, screen-printing, vision boards, etc.)
  • Games
  • Music station (featuring a collectively curated playlist, local DJs, and opportunities to explore different genres)

"CPS is delighted to partner with Mayor Siddiqui and our partners to provide this opportunity for students this summer,” said Dr. Greer, Interim Superintendent of the Cambridge Public Schools. “We know positive and fun peer engagement is an important ingredient of our collective efforts to help students recover from the pandemic and thrive on the path forward."

RECESS! is staffed by a team of five led by Director Kyrk Morris, who has many years of experience working with and building trusted relationships with Cambridge’s young people and their families. All stations and activities are supervised by youth development professionals in collaboration with Mayor’s Program teens who have co-created the RECESS! concept and experience. In addition, other program providers are brought in each week to run workshops for young people.

“RECESS! is successful because we pulled the entire community together in the process. It started with a few people sharing ideas about engaging young people through civics and the vision continued to evolve as we worked together to solve a real problem,” said Kyrk Morris, Director of the RECESS! project. “The partnerships RECESS! has forged are critical in assuring that our youth receive the guidance and support they need. The adults created the structure, and the young people have designed the content. It’s a win-win situation.”

For more information or questions, please contact the RECESS! team at RECESScambridge@gmail.com. You can also find RECESS! on social media: @cmb_recess (IG) @cmbrecess21 (Snapchat), @RECESScambridge (Facebook), and @cmbrecess (TikTok).

Page was posted on 7/28/2021 9:25 AM
Page was last modified on 7/28/2021 9:37 AM
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