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City’s summer program for kids free this year, but enrollment to shrink

  • Video courtesy City and County of Honolulu

    Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday announced the city would offer a pared-down version of Summer Fun in July for free with limited spots.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Mayor Kirk Caldwell, during a news conference Tuesday at Manoa Valley District Park, announced that the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation will offer a modified version of the Summer Fun program.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Mayor Kirk Caldwell, during a news conference Tuesday at Manoa Valley District Park, announced that the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation will offer a modified version of the Summer Fun program.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday afternoon announced the city would offer a pared-down version of Summer Fun in July for free.

Since no payment is required, registration this year will take place online starting 6 p.m. June 18.

A total of 3,600 elementary schoolchildren — roughly a third of about 10,000 in past years — will be able to participate in the program, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays July 1-28. Lunch will be provided for select sites.

“This summer is going to be free so that children can come and have fun together and be away from their parents for a while as their parents begin to go back to work,” said Caldwell during a news conference at Manoa Valley District Park. “We are really working hard to find out ways to make it easier for people to climb out of the pandemic, to get back to their lives, and do it with love and understanding.”

In years past, parents would camp out overnight in long lines at Manoa to get a coveted spot in the Summer Fun program — a relative bargain compared with other summer programs at just $25 per child in registration fees.

Since no payment is required, registration this year will take place on the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation’s new online system at pros.hnl.info. In order to register, individuals must create an account with an email address, which can be done ahead of time.

For park districts 3 and 4, which cover Pearl City to Waianae to Wahiawa, and Waialua to Waimanalo, online registration starts at 6 p.m. June 18. For park districts 1 and 2, including East Honolulu from Hawaii Kai to McCully, and West Honolulu from Makiki to Aiea, online registration starts at 9 a.m. June 20.

DPR Director Michele Nekota said she is confident the department’s new software can handle the volume of parents going online for Summer Fun. Residents without access to the internet can go to their local Summer Fun site to get help registering, she said.

Each group this year will be limited to 12, and each child will stay with the same group during the entire program, she said.

All keiki and staff will have their temperatures taken at the beginning of the day. Both will be asked to wear face masks, unless exempted by a health condition. Keiki and staff will not be allowed to attend if they are sick, have had contact with someone with COVID-19 or traveled out of state within 14 days.

Hand sanitizer will also be provided.

“We want to make sure this Summer Fun is a safe and healthy environment for the kids and staff,” Nekota said.

There will be 65 Summer Fun sites this year, she said, but additional ones could open up to accommodate more children if there are more staff, and qualified individuals are encouraged to apply. Senior leaders receive an average pay of $14 to $15 an hour, she said, along with valuable leadership experience.

REGISTERING FOR SUMMER FUN

Online registration at pros.hnl.info will take place on the following dates:

>> Starting 6 p.m. June 18 for park districts 3 and 4. Phone numbers: District 3, 768-6889; District 4, 768-8980.

>> Starting 9 a.m. June 20 for park districts 1 and 2. Phone numbers: District 1, 768-8944; District 2, 768-9292.

SUMMER FUN 2020

>> July 1-28 (excluding holiday July 3)

>> For children age 6 before Aug. 1, and no older than 13 by July 28

>> DPR is still staff for Summer Fun. Visit honolulu.gov/parks.

Source: Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation

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