Award-Winning Program For Teens Returns in July

Passholders get a chance to experience museums, theaters, and the outdoors

So often, educational and recreational summer programs are designed for children in elementary to middle school.

Those programs help families by keeping children busy, safe, and out of trouble while parents work.

However, teens often don’t get that kind of attention, so the Dallas Parks and Recreation department decided to do something about it.

Last year, the city launched the Youth All-Access Pass. The program ran in July to coincide with National Park and Recreation Month. It allowed youths ages 12 to 17 to go to a recreation center and pick up a pass that would give them and three guests access to nine partner locations.

“There’s a lot of city-wide support for it,” said Andrew Hawkins, manager for marketing/media relations for Dallas Park and Recreation. “We want to focus on the teens because they are neglected.”

Last year, more than 7,000 youths and their guests combined for more than 14,000 free admissions to such venues as the Dallas Arboretum, Shakespeare Dallas, and the Trinity River Audubon Center.

Other participating venues included the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Zoo, Bahama Beach, Dallas Library, and the Southern Skates Roller Rink.

“It lets a lot of people who have never been to some of these places get the chance to go and get an experience that they might not without the program,” Hawkins said.

The first year went so well that an association of park and recreation department directors awarded the program the DFW Director Association’s Inclusion Award.

Details are in the works for the program’s return this July, potentially adding new locations.

Check later this year for updates on the 2022 program.

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