Children play near the fountain at Seattle Center in summer

Summer Events and Programs for Youth and Families

by Elizabeth Turnbull

As the days finally warm up and the summer months are in full swing, various programs across the city are helping to provide positive activities for youth and families to make the summer both more enjoyable and safer. Here are some of the programs and activities available to South End youth this summer.

Seattle Parks and Recreation Programs

Summer of Safety (July and August)

Summer of Safety is a free program providing structured activities and a safe space for young people not connected to other supervised programs over the summer. The program is geared toward serving diverse groups of tweens and teens from low-income families.

From July 5 to Aug. 22, kids between the ages of 11 and 14 will be able to participate in Summer of Safety activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, at 10 different community centers across the city, with many in the South End. Free lunch will be provided by the City’s Summer Food Service Program, and no sign-up is required. 

In addition, free drop-in Soccer Camps will be held at Highland Park Field, and transportation to and from South Park will be provided during the weekdays listed on the calendar. Participants will leave South Park at 8:45 a.m. and return to South Park at 2:15 p.m.

Rec’N The Streets (July)

Through July, the Seattle Parks and Recreation department is holding events through its Rec’N The Streets program. On July 22, there will be three events in various locations in the city, including a dance night from 4 to 7 p.m. in Hubbard Park, a movie night in Genesee Park from 8 to 11 p.m, and a game night at Roxhill Park from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

In addition, the City program has other events planned throughout the summer, such as poetry readings and nature walks

City Employment and Internship Opportunities (Ongoing)

While registration for the City’s summer camps and the Seattle Youth Employment Program has already passed, the City is providing work for young people over 16 years of age through temporary lifeguarding opportunities and library assistant work, as well as City internships for college students. 

University of Washington: Youth and Teen Summer Courses (July and August)

With virtual and in-person programs, the University of Washington’s Seattle and Bellevue campuses are offering classes for youth grades 4 to 12. Topics include architecture, design, engineering, coding, microbiology, acting, screenwriting, and more.

YMCA: Y Summer Camps (July and August)

Over 40 YMCA locations are offering day and overnight camps to youth from K-12, including those focused on the outdoors, swimming, science, climbing, lifeguard training, leadership, and more. While registration for many have already passed, a complete list of camps can be found on its website, where the curious can search by their local YMCA location

Rainier Beach Action Coalition: Community Circles (July and August)

While Rainier Beach action coalition does not have a program specifically directed at youth safety, through July and August it will be holding community circles — known as Summer Circles — every Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. 

In addition, the organization is encouraging community members to participate in its corner greeting efforts and help with activating public spaces several days throughout the week. 

Throughout the summer, the Coalition will also be hosting Farm Stands from 10 a.m. to noon at 9059 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. The stands act as small farmers markets and provide fresh produce and food from local farmers.

Community Passageways: Multi-Day Retreat (September)

Community Passageways, an organization that helps mitigate youth incarceration, is pushing back its usual summer program to fall to make sure it is providing consistent resources for the youth involved. 

In summers past, the organization held Summer Safe Camps in Arizona and California where young people were able to rest, participate in healing circles, and receive resources, such as financial literacy training. 

This year, the group is hoping to provide a similar in-state multi-day retreat in September followed by its 18-month deep-dive program, which will provide legal assistance, help in finding housing, and employment and curriculum opportunities. 

“We recognized that we really wanted to make sure that the young people that we were engaging with — we have a long-term plan to keep engaging them,” Jessica Rock, director of operations at Community Passageways, told the Emerald. “A one-time event is rarely going to be able to do what we needed to do to support them for a longer period of time. So we wanted to line it up with our programming.”
For information on the Rainier Beach Action Coalition Summer Circles, contact

Elizabeth Turnbull is a journalist with reporting experience in the U.S. and the Middle East. She has a passion for covering human-centric issues and doing so consistently.

📸 Featured image by tusharkoley/

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