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Hattiesburg Wraps Up its Summer Programming

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – From the time school let out in May to the very end of July, the City of Hattiesburg prioritized positive activities for the City’s youth of all ages. This included a full weekly schedule of its Summer Camp program through Parks & Recreation, Summer Splash Days with the Hattiesburg Fire Department and Popsicles in the Park with the Hattiesburg Police Department.

“In addition to providing the second edition of our downloadable Hub City Summer Guide, these three key programs helped provide a calendar of both affordable and free activities for all of our families to take part in,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “I’m proud of both our Parks & Recreation department and public safety officials who continued to step up week after week to do just that.”

Parks & Recreation hosted an average of 75 students (ages 5 to 12) across two campsites (CE Roy Community Center and Lillie Burney) each week for five weeks. This year, campers could register for select weeks based on their own summer schedules. This provided flexibility to families involved in multiple summer activities or traveling during certain dates throughout the summer.

Campers were exposed to a variety of science, technology, engineering and the arts through partnerships with local organizations and businesses.

“In addition to keeping our local youth busy and productive in the summer, we know that the summer slide is a real challenge for many of our teachers. Through our summer camp program, we were able to fulfill the need for positive and engaging activities that helped keep our campers ready to head back to school in August,” said Betsy Mercier, interim director for Parks & Recreation.

She added, “We’re grateful to all of our community partners who helped rally around our camp program and provide a fun experience for all campers and staffers. We look forward to receiving feedback from parents and campers to build on that momentum for next year.”

Two popular programs from the past several summers also returned this year – Summer Splash Days with the Hattiesburg Fire Department and Popsicles in the Park with the Hattiesburg Police Department.

Summer Splash Days were held every Thursday in June and July. Popsicles in the Park were held every other Wednesday in June and July.

Barker added, “Both of these programs allow for our first responders to engage with our local youth in their own neighborhoods, in a non-emergency environment. We believe this goes a long way in building trust between those who provide essential public safety services and the residents we serve.”

In total, both programs served approximately 350 youth across all dates.

Even though a few dates had to be canceled due to excessive heat advisories and pop-up thunderstorms, City officials believe that the slate of activities and attendance further establishes a need for positive summer activities and programs. Each department is evaluating each program to plan for the summer of 2024.





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