As school wraps up for the summer, Mayor Greg Fischer is reminding parents and caregivers that there are plenty of learning opportunities for Louisville students of all ages over the next three months.
During a news conference at the Newburg Library, the Mayor and others outlined a number of programs designed to keep kids engaged and prevent summer learning loss, including the Louisville Free Public Library’s Summer Reading program, and the 2017 Cultural Pass — presented by Churchill Downs in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the library, the Arts and Culture Alliance and the Fund for the Arts.
“As parents, we all know that a week or so after classes end, the kids complain, ‘I’m bored!’ Well, there is no reason for any young person in Louisville to be bored this summer,” the Mayor said. “Thanks to partners like Churchill Downs, there is a long list of activities and learning opportunities to keep kids engaged.”
And in celebration of both the Library’s Summer Reading Program and the Cultural Pass, the Mayor announced, the Main Library will host the Super Summer Reading Kickoff and Cultural Pass Showcase on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This free, family-friendly event will offer a plethora of activities, performances, and crafts featuring more than two dozen members of the Arts and Culture Alliance. Participating groups will include the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Science Center, Frazier History Museum, Kentucky Shakespeare, and more. For more information, please visit LFPL.org/Kids or call (502) 574-1620.
The Cultural Pass supports and encourages lifelong learning by providing free access to 38 of Greater Louisville’s arts and cultural institutions for children and young adults to age 21. The Pass is valid from June 3 to Aug. 12 for one-time general admission at each of the participating institutions.
“The Cultural Pass is an incredible asset for our city,” said Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen. “Churchill Downs is proud to sponsor such an important endeavor that enriches our great city.”
“The Cultural Pass turns our world-class arts and cultural institutions into summer classrooms for our community’s children and families,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts President and CEO. “Churchill Downs’ support has been remarkable as we work together to reduce barriers to the arts for every child, parent and citizen of our community.”
The 2017 Cultural Pass and Summer Reading materials are available now at any Louisville Free Public Library branch and any Metro Louisville Community Center.
Pass holders can register and track the progress of their Cultural Pass online at www.lfpl.org/culturalpass and are encouraged to visit as many venues as they are able during the summer. Children with 5 or more documented visits receive a Cultural Pass giveaway prize and will be entered into a drawing to win additional prizes, including a free stay at 21C Museum Hotel, tickets to area performances like The Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre or Louisville Ballet’s Nutcracker, family memberships to Bernheim Forest, the Frazier History Museum, Gheens Science Hall and Planetarium, and more.
“The Arts and Culture Alliance is delighted to once again participate in this program, providing access to our arts and cultural organizations for thousands of youth in our area,” said Kim Baker, President and CEO of the Kentucky Center, and Chair of the ACA Executive Committee. “Our participating members look forward to providing memorable experiences this summer as we work together to make our community a vibrant place to live, learn, work and play. We’re grateful to Churchill Downs, Fund for the Arts and Louisville Metro for this unique opportunity.”
To learn more about the Cultural Pass, please visit www.fundforthearts.org/2017culturalpass.
Presented by the Library Foundation, the Library’s annual Summer Reading Program is a free 10-week program that encourages kids and teens to read for fun over the summer by offering prizes and incentives. Every child—from infant through 12th grade—who completes the program will receive a backpack or aluminum water bottle, along with passes to local attractions like the Kentucky Science Center, Squire Boone Caverns, a Bats baseball game, the Frazier History Museum, and more.
“Summer Reading is a great out-of-school program that helps kids and teens stay on reading level and return to school better prepared to learn,” said Library Director Jim Blanton. “This annual tradition reaches more than 50,000 children in the Metro area, helping to create a habit and love of reading.”
For more information, or to pre-register for Summer Reading, visit LFPL.org/SummerReading, or call (502) 574-1620.
Other summer programs:
The Library’s Summer Reading Program and the annual Cultural Pass presented by Churchill Downs complement hundreds of camps and enrichment activities organized by nonprofit organizations, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), local colleges and universities, museums, churches, and arts organizations.
To help families sort through the many summer offerings, the Mayor reminds the community that a searchable database of quality Out of School Time (OST) programs is available through 2-1-1. Thanks to the BLOCS community partnership, families can access this resource year-round by visiting www.louisvilleblocs.org and clicking on the 2-1-1 link. The list is also available by dialing Metro United Way’s 211 call-in line, or accessing the 211 app. BLOCS was established in 2011 by Louisville Metro Government, JCPS, Metro United Way and the Louisville Alliance for Youth, in an effort to bridge in-school and out-of-school time, while demonstrating OST programming is a fundamental support in improving educational outcomes.
The Mayor also announced 11 recipients of this year’s BLOCS Summer Learning grants, given to ensure quality summer programming for youth. Those organizations are: First Gethsemane Center for Family Development, Americana Community Center, Bates Community Development Corporation, Caanan Community Development Corporation, Family and Children’s Place, The Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm, Highland Park Community Development Corporation, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Lighthouse Academy at Newburg, Norfolk Community Area Council, and St. George’s Scholar Institute.
Other summer program highlights:
Jefferson County Public Schools: JCPS is offering camps this summer to assist English as a Second Language students; students who may need a summer learning boost; and students who need extended learning to help halt summer learning slide.
Louisville Zoo: The Louisville Zoo is a living classroom with something to learn all year long. When kids are out of school, it’s the perfect place to keep minds active and engaged with amazing animal species from around the globe or one of the Zoo’s many summer camps. Weekly camps are available for ages from pre-K to 8th grade. All Zoo camps include Zoo walks, large animal presentations, attraction rides, and up-close encounters with live animal ambassadors. Events are happening all summer, from the Friday Night Movie Series to the ever-popular Storybook Character Day. All events and camp listings can be found at http://louisvillezoo.org.
Metro Parks & Recreation: Five community centers — Beechmont, Cyril Allgeier, Douglass, Southwick and Sun Valley – will have summer camps with structured programming, games, field trips and other activities. Fees range from $65 to $95.
Other centers will be offering open programming, meaning kids can shoot hoops, use the public Wi-Fi or computer lab, or maybe just relax and read a book.
The Reds’ Rookie Success League is back this year. For more than a decade, this successful partnership with the Cincinnati Reds has introduces kids to the game of baseball with a focus on character development. The program will be offered at Petersburg Park and Wyandotte Park. Call Metro Parks athletics at (502)574-4515 for more information.
Also, from June 5-July 28, the Metro Parks and Recreation Mobile Playground will be visiting six local parks during the week: Boone Square, Elliott Square, Westonia, William Harrison, Norfolk Acres and Huston Quin. The big red converted fire truck is staffed by Metro Parks who bring music, sports, crafts and games. For more information, visit http://www.bestparksever.com.
Meanwhile, Metro Parks is looking to employ teens as lifeguards, and is offering training courses, including one that starts today. Call the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center at 897-9949.
Metro Parks’ four outdoor pools – at Camp Taylor, Nelson Hornbeck (Fairdale), Algonquin and Sun Valley parks – open Memorial Day weekend. Metro Parks also offers 30 spraygrounds and spraypads at parks throughout the community.
Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods: The office is sponsoring a number of activities to keep teens engaged this summer, including family game nights and chess clubs at the California Community Center; One Love Louisville Ambassador Institutes; community gardening; and Mayor-Youth Chats. For more information: http://onelovelou.org/