Free food, fun offered in city’s summer youth program

Foot golf is one of the free activities being offered to areas youths this summer. (Sept. 29, 2015)
Foot golf is one of the free activities being offered to areas youths this summer. (Sept. 29, 2015) File photo

So it turns out there really IS such a thing as a free lunch – if you sign up for a summer youth program in Wichita, at least.

The “SayYES” youth-enrichment program offers free bus rides through Aug. 31, free access to public swimming pools, free golf and FootGolf at L.W. Clapp golf course, forgiveness of outstanding library fees – and, yes, free lunches.

The program is available at no cost to youths ages 7-17, organizers say.

“This pilot program is an investment in the future of our city,” City Council member Lavonta Williams said in a statement. “We want to help kids enjoy a fulfilling summer, create childhood memories and nurture a love for literacy.”

But there’s another purpose behind the program, said Stacey Hamm, director of marketing for the Park and Recreation department. “SayYES” introduces young people to the transit system, showing how they can use a city bus to get to the library and all public pools.

“Teenagers who are working can use the city bus to get to and from work as well,” Hamm said.

Free lunches will be available for ages 18 and under through Aug. 4. Lunch will be served from noon until 12:30 p.m. and snacks from 4 to 4:30 p.m. each weekday at Colvin Elementary, 2820 S. Roosevelt.

Breakfast will be served from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and a snack from 4 to 4:30 p.m. at Evergreen Recreation Center, 2700 N. Woodland.

Lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. until noon at the Atwater Neighborhood Resource Center, 2755 E. 19th St.

To participate, the youth must have a program pass, which can be obtained for free at the Wichita Transit Center, 214 S. Topeka. Parents or guardians must be present to obtain a youth SayYES! Pass, as well as create or update an account at the Wichita Public Library.

The program is a collaboration among the Wichita Public Library, Wichita Transit, Wichita Park & Recreation and Housing and Community Services departments. For more information, contact the Park and Recreation Department at 316-268-4628.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger