Press Release

Press Release Governor Healey Kicks Off 2023 Summer Nights Program

DCR Expands Youth Engagement Program to 84 Organizations Hosting Free Sports, Arts, and Nature Exploration Activities in Cities Around Massachusetts
For immediate release:
  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
  • Department of Conservation & Recreation

Media Contact for Governor Healey Kicks Off 2023 Summer Nights Program

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Boston —  As part of its commitment to promoting the safety and health of Massachusetts’ young people, the Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced the expansion of the Department of Conservation’s successful Summer Nights Program. Governor Maura Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rebecca Tepper, and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner (DCR) Brian Arrigo kicked off the department’s annual Summer Nights Program this morning with a game of basketball with teens and young adults at the Francis D. Martini Memorial Shell Park in Hyde Park. 

The Summer Nights Program, in its ninth year, provides recreational and educational opportunities for young people, ages 13 to 21, in urban areas around the state during evening hours throughout July and August. This year, the Healey-Driscoll Administration has expanded the program to its largest reach yet, partnering with 84 organizations that will provide free activities including sports, arts and crafts, music, and mentoring and life skills workshops at   approximately 125 locations.  

This year’s Summer Nights communities are: Boston (Allston, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roslindale, Roxbury, South Boston), Brockton, Cambridge, Chelsea, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Methuen, Milton, New Bedford, Springfield, Stoughton, Taunton and Worcester. The expansion into Fitchburg is a new component of this year’s program. 

"We are thrilled to be expanding the successful Summer Nights Program into more communities across Massachusetts, providing more teens and young adults with free and safe opportunities to learn, grow, and even play some basketball,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Programs like Summer Nights give young people opportunities to build healthy relationships, while also serving as a critical tool for violence prevention during the hot summer months. Summer Nights is also free, making fun recreational activities available to every family who wants to participate.”

"What makes this program work so well is our direct collaboration with state, local, and community-based organizations and dedicated municipalities all focused on creating impactful opportunities for our young people,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Our administration will always look for ways to strengthen smart programs like Summer Nights. This year, we’ll reach thousands of young people. And, of course, we’ll take any chance to get out and play basketball.” 

The program is a continuation of the administration’s commitment to bringing people together, as it’s organized around partnerships with municipalities, community-focused organizations, and public safety agencies. The program launched in 2015 with four partners and has now grown to hosting programming for roughly 20,000 young people in urban areas around the state. Funding for this year’s program is $3 million, with $2.6 million going directly to partners and the remaining funds for police details, equipment, marketing, and staffing costs.

"DCR’s Summer Nights Program gives thousands of kids and young adults in our cities the opportunity to spend their evenings taking part in safe, fun activities in their communities like playing kickball or fishing,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Making summer recreation available to city residents is a matter of equity, and that is a central focus of many of our agencies going forward.” 

“Summer Nights is one of the most rewarding and exciting programs that DCR offers because we can see the direct impact it has on kids across the state,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “We believe easy access to our outdoor spaces and natural resources is critical for creating healthy communities and should be available to all children and families regardless of financial ability. This is how we grow the next generation of athletes, community leaders, and stewards of our parks.” 

“We’re grateful to Governor Healey, her administration, and the more than 30 community organizations in Boston who are creating opportunities for our young people and their families to have safe, fun, and healthy ways to spend time together outside this summer,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we work to be the best place in the country for families, we’re focused on having the most active, fun summer yet across our neighborhoods.” 

The Summer Nights Program will run through August 20 and offers activities such as basketball, volleyball, yoga, dance, martial arts, flag football, corn-hole, fishing, ping-pong, cardio boxing, swimming, camping, rowing, kayaking, cooking, painting, Zumba, dodgeball, tennis, and nature exploration. Programming also includes sessions on leadership skill-building, health and wellness, poetry, academic tutoring, storytelling, animation, music, media production, and career and college readiness programs. Additionally, three providers will provide accessible and adaptive programs, including theater, swimming, and kayaking. The program also offers free ferry passes for Summer Nights participants and their families to the Boston Harbor Islands through Boston Harbor Now. For a full list of programming, please visit DCR’s Summer Nights Program webpage.   

Each summer, DCR prioritizes providing safe, fun, and low-cost recreational programming for young people and families across the state. DCR will also offer the popular Movies in the Parks Series as part of the Summer Nights Program with showings of family-friendly movies at the agency’s Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston, Fall River Heritage State Park, Red Rock Park at Lynn Shores Reservation, Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham, Breakheart Reservation in Saugus and Wompatuck State Park. This year’s featured movies will include Minions: Rise of Gru, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Puss in Boots: Last Wish, The Goonies, Back to the Future, Super Mario Bros., and Thor: Love and Thunder.  


Media Contact for Governor Healey Kicks Off 2023 Summer Nights Program

  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll 

    Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll are committed to bringing people together and making Massachusetts a place where every worker, business and family can succeed.
  • Department of Conservation & Recreation 

    DCR manages state parks and oversees more than 450,000 acres throughout Massachusetts. It protects, promotes, and enhances the state’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
    The health and happiness of people across Massachusetts depends on the accessibility and quality of our natural resources, recreational facilities, and great historic landscapes. DCR continues to improve the vital connection between people and the environment.
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