Summer Fun Celebrates its 30th Year!

The Peter Kiewit Foundation’s Summer Fun program has been a staple in summer programming for youth throughout the Omaha Metro. The program started in 1991 as a way to help bridge the experience gap often affecting children living in poverty. The program has grown exponentially and what started with 62 field trips, is now over 750 field trips. One of the program directors said it best “the summer fun program is a must. I love planning summer program and then going on the summer fun website to find fieldtrips that will enrich the activity or theme we are teaching the students. It really helps them to grasp and remember and apply the lessons. It is a sneaky way to get them to learn in the summer…” Anna Pitt, Site Director, Completely KIDS Gomez

While Peter Kiewit Foundation continues to fund the Summer Fun Program, this is the first year they’ve worked with Collective for Youth to administer the programming. We are very excited to be taking on this endeavor and will strive to continue all the excellent work Pat Thraen, Stephanie Burkholder, and others at the foundation started. Field trip opportunities vary greatly and include trips to Mahoney State Park, Omaha Public Pools, Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Wildlife Safari Park, No More Empty Pots, El Museo Latino, and many more. As Jesse Cardenas, Director of Residential Living with Omaha Home for Boys shared, “the Summer Fun program gives our youth experiences they may not typically have and exposes them to things they are not used to. The wide range of activities allows us to include all of our youth which is great!”

We have a few weeks left of programming but look forward to feedback from our host sites and youth serving agencies on ways we can continue to administer and improve upon this impactful program. This program is a wonderful collaboration among Peter Kiewit Foundation, Collective for Youth, many youth serving agencies, host sites, and Student Transportation of America. We could not provide so many meaningful experiences without everyone mentioned and want to thank all of you for all your hard work and investment in Omaha’s young people. We look forward to continuing to work with everyone and are already making some plans for next summer!

Check out what some Summer Fun partners had to say about their experience…

“My best summer memory was a member coming back from a trip to Mahoney State Park and saying this trip was his first ‘vacation’. It reminded me again of the importance to provide these types of opportunities to our young people that often time have very little.” Tom Kunkel, Chief Program Officer, Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands.

“[We continue to host Summer Fun because] after the first year, I called Pat at Kiewit to ask her if she had any feedback on the cruises, and she said that she had heard from several of the kids that it was their favorite program and that they had so much fun on the cruise. That is what made me want to do it over and over again every year since then!”- Tami Bader, River City Star, a Summer Fun host site since 2012.

“We love to teach and tell our story – a lesson in the creative process. The future for these kids is changing so fast, learning the creative process prepares them for the ever-changing landscape of life and business. Creating takes time and patience, so having a hands-on experience helps kids learn to focus. We teach that making mistakes is ok, it is part of learning. We teach them to ask why and what if, to think critically and collaborate. The arts celebrate the individual and help kids find their voice. All skills that will help them be successful in life.”- Kim Sellmeyer, Hot Shops Art Studio