DC summer camp sign up switching to lottery system for more 'equitable' process

Changes are coming to the way families will be signing their kids up for summer camp this year in the District.

The goal is to make the process more equitable and less of a mad dash on sign-up day.

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation is changing the way it’s doing a number of things in the coming months, including expanding hours at its rec centers all across the city. 

Last summer at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, families tried to sign up 600 children for 40 summer camp slots.

This year, the lottery system for all DC summer camps will open on March 13 and close on April 5. Families will find out on April 18 if their children got a spot.

Consideration will be given to families with siblings, so they can go to the same program. There will be new camp offerings as well such as game rooms at the rec centers, pickleball, golf, robotics and journalism.

The city is also increasing the number of camper openings this summer by 5,000 to a total of 15,000.


Montgomery County offers free recreation center fitness passes to residents in 2023

It’s the first week of the new year which means plenty of New Year’s resolutions are in the works, so to help Montgomery County residents with fitness minded goals, the county is offering free fitness passes at recreation centers.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser says it’s about equity and improving the quality of life for families across the city. 

In the meantime, the parks and rec department is expanding the hours starting March 27 at its eight busiest centers. Mayor Bowser says all 45 rec centers across the city will have expanded hours by the end of April.

Currently, rec centers are open Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m. Soon, they will open at 6 a.m. and close their doors at 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday's hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Current Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The mayor says this will help give young people opportunities and alternatives. The city will also be hiring roughly 700 young people to help run those summer camps.