May 14, 2021 Category: Our Programs

Countdown to Summer: The Fresh Air Fund’s Summer 2021 Programs

For summer 2021, The Fresh Air Fund will be building on and expanding the exciting programs we launched last summer. There will be a combination of in-person and virtual programs. What do they have in common? All Fresh Air programs = a chance to have FUN, learn new skills, make new friends, and connect with mentors.  

When we made the difficult decision not to run our traditional Friendly Towns or Camp programs for summer 2021, our decisions were guided by how we can safely connect New York City children to the outdoors and provide opportunities for them to learn, grow and thrive in the summer and beyond, as The Fund has done for 145 years.  

The best part – children can register for more than one program! 

Summer Spaces 

Summer Spaces was created with the very generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation and The JPB Foundation, in summer 2020. The program offers three-hour sessions, Monday – Thursday, for children ages 5-12 at neighborhood-based locations. 

Soccer is a favorite activity at Summer Spaces! 

This summer, the session will be three hours (instead of two) giving children the chance to experience more activities from arts & crafts projects like creating kaleidoscopes, mobiles and cloud climbers to sports like soccer and basketball! Hula hoops, jumping rope and jumbo sized games of connect four will also be back this summer! 

Open Spaces 

In partnership with the City Parks Foundation, children ages 12- 15 will participate in environmental education, STEM or sports activities at several city parks.

Open Spaces participants learned about the environment and even went bird watching!

There are three two-week sessions focused on Coastal Classroom, Learning Gardens or Everyday Play.  See a list of program locations here.

Fresh Air Everywhere  

Our virtual camp, Fresh Air Everywhere, is for children ages 7-12. Nine-day sessions include an hour and a half of hands-on, supervised, interactive activities that encourage creativity and exploration. Activities will focus on nature and bringing the outdoors in!  

Fresh Air Everywhere campers get creative making colorful art inspired by their favorite sea animals from dolphins to jellyfish!

“On the first day, I was nervous to meet new people, but then I had a lot of fun the rest of the time. It was a completely new experience. I also learned to draw better!” – Micah, 12. 

In addition to virtual sessions, campers will have access to activities they can do at home with their families. Children are provided with an “activity box” that has materials for all the activities.  

Friendly Towns Connect 

Friendly Towns Connect is an exciting NEW program to bring together the Friendly Towns community and provide engaging virtual programming for NYC children and host families to participate in together.  

Friendly Towns volunteers and Fresh Air staff facilitate fun interactive virtual activities!

Fresh Air youth ages 7 – 12 and volunteer host families will participate in live virtual programming including virtual field trips to Friendly Towns states and featured NYC sites, art, STEM & more! Participants are sent an “activity box” that has all the materials needed for activities. A session is three weeks with one and a half hours of live programming three days a week.  

Fresh Air Family Wellness  

At The Fresh Air Fund’s camps in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, families enjoy nature, spend time together and participate in camp activities like swimming, hiking, fishing, arts & crafts and boating.  

Family Wellness participants enjoy a day kayaking in the lake at Camp junior. 

The Fresh Air Family Wellness program is designed to follow all physical distancing and other safety protocols. This summer there will be both overnight and day trips!  

The part of the day that I really loved was when we went fishing. Madison has never been fishing before and she was so excited when she caught a fish! I have not seen her as free and excited in the past few months.

Virginia Williams, Family Wellness Participant

Fresh Air Summer Teen Academy 

The Fresh Air Summer Teen Academy has specialized programs which offer opportunities for teens, ages 13-17, to earn credentials, have internships and gain critical work experience. Programs will be primarily virtual and will offer some limited in-person opportunities.  

Workshops include developing leadership skills, career exploration, college readiness and more. All programs offer stipends, which range from $500 – $1,000 depending on the time commitment required.  

Teens share that they build a community through collaborating on projects and learning new skills together. 

The Job Readiness Training Program is a three-week virtual program for 13 – 15-year-olds that meets for 15 hours a week and focuses on developing job readiness and leadership skills. Students receive training on team building and life skills, including financial literacy and effective communication. 

In collaboration with several partners, the Credentialing Program will offer a range of courses for students 13-17 years old to explore and build basic, industry-level skills and receive a certificate upon completion. The credentialing programs will meet virtually primarily, with some in-person opportunities. The programs range from three weeks to seven weeks and include Architecture and Urban Design, Environmental Education, Video Game Design and Entrepreneurship. 

“Whenever I log on to Zoom, I feel like I’m talking to my friends. It’s really fun! I feel like we created a community that is very welcoming, and I liked that. I became more confident, and the program made me feel at home,” 17-year-old Environmental Education student, Nafisha said. 

The Internship Program is a six-week program for 16 & 17 year-olds with a one-week virtual orientation followed by a five-week, 20 hour per week internship (16 hours at job site and 4 training hours per week), either virtually or in-person. During the internship, there are ongoing professional development opportunities, including resume workshops and career exploration. Mentors and instructors are available to provide guidance. 

Join the countdown to summer! Follow us on social – Instagram: @thefreshairfund, Twitter @FreshAirFund and Facebook: @FreshAirFund

Start your Fresh Air summer adventure and sign up today!