Governor Baker launches Summer Nights program in Springfield

The program helps provide free and safe activities for at-risk youth across the Bay State.
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Tuesday, Governor Charlie Baker visited Springfield to launch the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s annual Summer Nights program.

The program helps provide free and safe activities for at-risk youth across the Bay State.

The Governor met with Mayor Domenic Sarno, DCR Commissioner Doug Rice, and other local officials at the South End Community Center to formally launch Summer Nights for 2022.

It is a $2.5 million program that expands to 25 communities across Massachusetts.

Officials said that it is not just to give kids fun things to do, but also to allow them to get involved in their communities and teach them life skills they can take with them wherever they go. Some of the activities offered in Springfield include college prep, archery, kayaking, and financial literacy.

Governor Baker said it has grown every year since it began in 2015 because people see value and opportunity.

“I think part of the success of this program, and the reason it’s been supported by our colleagues in the legislature, is because people do get a very positive response from local communities and from a lot of the folks who work with kids in communities about the benefit of having a lot of these local organizations working together with the Commonwealth to create opportunities for kids at night and on weekends - all ages - 3, 4, 5, all the way up to teenagers,” Governor Baker explained.

In 2015, there were only 4 participating organizations and only about $213,000 in funding. The program now consists of 75 organizations.

Officials said that last year alone, 12,000 kids and teens were able to benefit from the Summer Nights program.