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Mayor Keller Announces Plans For Summer Youth Programs

Modified summer programs set to continue serving thousands of families with COVID-19 safety practices in place, City hiring 1,000 summer workers

May 4, 2020

Mayor Tim Keller and City of Albuquerque officials announced new details on summer youth programs today during a news conference. Programs will be modified to accept the most youth possible while following COVID-safe health and social distancing recommendations.

“Youth programming has been a priority of ours since taking office, and it has been a lifeline for parents who are essential workers during COVID-19. Each summer, we run robust youth programs so kids have a safe and enriching place to go while they’re out of school. Now as we start to phase into reopening the city, we will be working to continue summer programs for families who need them, with safety practices in place.” said Mayor Keller.

The City is working inter-departmentally through the Youth Connect collaboration to implement a phased plan for youth summer programs. The plan will allow the programs to operate at the highest capacity possible, while taking the most recent health recommendations into considerations including:

  • Social distancing
  • Hygiene practices
  • PPE recommendations
  • Disinfecting/cleaning practices

Children of essential workers will be prioritized for youth programs, including the summer meal programs. The plan allows for programs to expand as the COVID situation changes and improves. Programming is expected to begin June 8th, although Summer meal service will begin June 1.

To run the summer youth programs, the City will hire 1,000 staff members as usual when preparing for summer. The City will bring on the summer staff before June 1 and virtual training will occur during the first week of June. Those interested in applying should visit

Program details and registration processes for summer youth programs vary depending on the department offering programs.

Programs through the department of Family and Community Services will take place in all 22 community centers. Teen Nights, which have grown in popularity in the last few years, will not be held this summer due to COVID-19. Programming usually offered at APS locations are still being determined and may not take place. Registration for community center programs are conducted through a lottery system.

Registration details: 

  • Lottery will take place May 11 – 15
  • Lottery drawing will be on May 18
  • Registration for those drawn in the lottery will be May 20 – 29
  • Tentative start date for Community Center summer programs will be June 8
  • Tentative start date for summer lunch program will be June 1

Community Centers are using a formula to calculate the safe amount of participants for each site. The formula takes into account the size of the center, staff availability and the most current social distancing recommendations.

The Cultural Services Department will also offer summer youth programs, which include programs at museums, the BioPark, and libraries. In addition to in-person youth programs, Cultural Services is creating “Summer Camp at Home” activity kits to be distributed after the APS school year ends. The kits will be created by the Albuquerque Museum, BioPark, and Balloon Museum. The Public Library is also planning a completely digital Summer Reading Program. Registration begins online on May 16 at

The Parks and Recreation Department usually offers a wide variety of programs through the Recreation, Aquatics, and Open Space divisions. This year, they will operate at an abbreviated level, meaning smaller groups and different schedules. 

Tennis lessons are set to take place in July and the beginning of August. Lessons will be reduced to fewer locations and classes limited to smaller groups.

Outdoor adventure camps will be restricted to four participants and depend on restrictions on group transportation guidelines. The portable rock wall can resume operations in July with limited staff.

The Esperanza Community Bike Shop (Youth Earn a Bike and Bicycle Education Clinics) can function with “limited” participants – regulated by social distancing guidelines in place when facilities re-open. 

Youth Softball / Soccer / Rugby / Flag Football / Lacrosse will all depend largely on guidance provided by sanctioning bodies such as USSSA for softball and USA Soccer for youth soccer. 

The pools can potentially open to the public on Memorial Day weekend, May 23, with reduced hours. Swimming lesson class sizes will be reduced in size.

The Open Space Division is continuing a number of youth programs through virtual experiences such as Family Nature Club meetings through Zoom and presenting activities (some bilingual) via the City website, school websites and social media. Educators are also distributing information at Grab and Go lunch sites for youth who do not have access to computers.

Registration for programs offered through Parks and Recreation will vary by department. All registration will be done online, but the date registration opens will vary.

Tennis registration will begin mid-May, with lessons set to begin in July. Open Space Explorer registration will likely begin in late May. Swimming lessons registration will likely begin at the end of June.

The City’s summer lunch program will be phased in starting on June 1. The City is working closely with APS to ensure youth will be fed and meals can be cooked at the highest capacity possible. For more information on summer programs or meals, please visit