It runs five days a week, includes free sack lunch

Thanks to Boys & Girls Clubs, the city of Gresham will offer a free summer recreational program for kids 18 and younger for the first time in years.

The eight-week program includes a free lunch and will run in three parks for two hours every day, five days a week, from June 23 through Aug. 15.

Mayor Shane Bemis announced the new program at Main City Park last week, surrounded by dozens of children engaged in everything from soccer practice to climbing on play structures to foot races and organized games. Soon after his speech, Bemis was out there running around with them in a fast game of “Capture the Flag.”

“We are very excited to be able to provide some much-needed summer recreational activities in our parks, thanks to our partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs,” Bemis said. “Our kids deserve them, and our parks will benefit from all the positive energy that kids bring when they are having a good time and making summertime memories.”

by: CONTRIBUTED: CITY OF GRESHAM - Dozens of kids played all kinds of games last week at Main City Park as the city announced daily recreation at three parks, led by Boys & Girls Clubs.The program will be held at Main City Park, Red Sunset Park and Vance Park. The free lunch is provided through the Department of Agriculture’s summer lunch program and will be prepared and served by the Gresham-Barlow and Centennial school districts, Bemis said.

Because of budget cuts, the city has not been able to sponsor summer recreation programs in recent years, but the collaboration of Boys & Girls Clubs makes it possible.

Their program is called SKIP, for Summer Kids in the Park, and will include “exercise and field games, arts and crafts, special events and guest appearances,” according to the SKIP brochure.

All activities and staff will be provided by Boys & Girls Clubs, but parents and guardians are advised to stay in the parks while the kids are participating, according to a press release from the city, and SKIP is not meant for small children to be left without supervision. Older children may attend on their own, if their guardian or parent approves.

“The city is providing the parks, fields and facilities; Boys & Girls Clubs will provide the fun,” according to the release.

Kerian Walton is senior director of safety and training for Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area, but she also lives in Gresham, she said.

“I come to the park and I’m so excited they’re going to have a free lunch,” she said. The sack lunches will meet daily requirements for grains, protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy, she added.

Boys & Girls Clubs is building a new facility in the Rockwood neighborhood at Southeast 165th Avenue and Stark Street, which also will help underserved kids, she said,

“This is a community that needs services for their youth, and we’re excited to provide them,” Walton said.

More summer program information is available at or call Kerian Walton at 503-969-5265.

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