July 21, 2020 Category: Press Release


Program takes place July 13th through August 21st in Marine Park in Brooklyn, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and Forest Park in Queens

The Fresh Air Fund has partnered with City Parks Foundation to offer “Fresh Air Open Spaces,” free outdoor environmental education and multi-sport programs for Fresh Air participants, ages 12 to 15, at three New York City Parks beginning July 13th through August 21st.  City Parks Foundation will provide critical outdoor programming spaces and staff, including educators and sports instructors, giving Fresh Air youth an opportunity to engage in fun environmental science exploration and sports activities at Marine Park in Brooklyn, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and Forest Park in Queens. Through this partnership, Fresh Air children will enjoy two-week sessions, meeting for four hours a day, five days a week.

Although The Fund’s traditional summer sleepaway camps and volunteer host family program will not be taking place, innovative free summer programs will provide alternatives for children to keep the joy of summer alive through Fresh Air Everywhere — virtual programming; Teen Programs; Youth Employment; Summer Spaces including Open Spaces — safe spaces for outdoor play in neighborhoods in New York City, and Fresh Air Family Wellness at its camps.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with City Parks Foundation with their expertise in bringing public parks to life for the community, as we continue to support our children at a time when they need to be engaged in summer learning and fitness activities safely in the outdoors,” said Fatima Shama, Executive Director, The Fresh Air Fund.  “With our two iconic New York City not-for-profit organizations joining forces together, the benefits to our youth will be significant and long-lasting.” 

Fresh Air Open Spaces outdoor environmental education curriculum will consist of experiential programming led by City Parks Foundation educators.  Offering activities from the CityParks Learn environmental education programs such as Green Girls Empowered by ING, Coastal Classroom and Seeds to Trees, Fresh Air participants will learn the importance of parks to humans and wildlife within an urban setting.  Hands-on activities include identifying major tree species, a forest ecosystem scavenger hunt, examining invasive and native plants, and trapping and observing pollinators in bug boxes.  In addition, young people will learn about animals and water in parks by birdwatching with binoculars, exploring squirrel and raccoon tracks and traces, using dip nets and fishing poles to observe and release aquatic organisms and by testing water chemistry and quality.        

To provide Fresh Air children with supervised, organized and fun fitness opportunities, CityParks Play instructors created a sports curriculum pulling fundamentals from their core programs including track & field, soccer skills, tennis, jump rope activities, an obstacle course challenge, yoga and balance games, and golf putting.   Children will learn proper running techniques, sprints and hurdles, standing long jump and javelin throw.  Instructors will also teach soccer skills including dribbling, passing and shooting on goal, in addition to tennis and golf putting lessons.  

“We are so happy to be partnering with The Fresh Air Fund to ensure that the kids in their program will still be able to remain active and engaged outdoors this summer,” said Heather Lubov, Executive Director, City Parks Foundation. “Throughout the pandemic, our city’s parks remained open as some of the only public assets available for recreation and respite.  Our city’s kids endured a very rough spring, so we are eager to continue using parks to offer kids opportunities this summer to play and learn outdoors in safe, structured and enriching environments.”

The health and safety of children will always be the top priority in providing secure and engaging summer experiences.  City Parks Foundation and The Fresh Air Fund are taking safety precautions.  Fresh Air programs will follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York Forward, and participate in contact tracing training from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Fund will also adhere to the New York City Department of Health (NYC DOH) outdoor activity guidelines and New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYS OCFS) Reopening Child Care and Day Camp Program Guidelines.  

About City Parks Foundation

At City Parks Foundation, we are dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community building and education programs for all New Yorkers. Our programs — located in more than 400 parks, recreation centers and public schools across New York City — reach 310,000 people each year. Our ethos is simple: thriving parks mean thriving communities.

About The Fresh Air Fund

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit organization has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877.  This summer, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, The Fund will continue to provide safe, fun, engaging and enriching experiences for New York City youth to keep the magic of summer alive through virtual and outdoor programs. Fresh Air children also participate in year-round leadership and educational programs.  For more information, visit www.FreshAir.org.