Check out some upcoming summer camps, programs for Austin youth

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Wondering what fun programs for young people are happening in Austin this summer?

Here’s some of the many programs the community offers. (Note some require registration and/or travel fees.)

  • Because I Care Inc., located at 5811 W. Chicago Ave., has a free program for ages 6 to 15, running from June 25 through Aug. 10. Participants will have the opportunity to take trips to the Brookfield Zoo and attend a White Sox game, among other field trips. They will also work on arts and crafts and other projects. Space is available but limited. First come, first served. For more information, contact Because I Care, Inc. at (773) 261-0555.
  • The Austin Town Hall Park is accepting applications for its traditional six-week summer camp, which runs from June 25 to Aug. 3. Sports, swimming and crafts are on the summer camp’s agenda along with many other activities the park offers. There is a fee; students who qualify for free lunch at a Chicago Public School may receive half-off the enrollment fee. Online registration has ended. Stop in to Austin Town Hall Park, located at 5610 W. Lake St., for more information or to register. You can also call the park at (773) 287-7658.
  • LaFollette Park, located at 1333 N. Laramie Ave., will hold a similar traditional summer camp during the same time — June 25 to Aug. 3.  A fee is required for registration. Please contact the park at (773) 287-0541 for more information.

Here’s more information about assistance available to pay for Chicago Park District’s summer programs. The deadline to apply for assistance in June 11.

  • The DMI YOUth CAN summer program, held at the Windy City Word’s office, located at 5090 W. Harrison St., is still accepting applications for its seven-week program. The program is offered for ages 8 to 18. Activities include an anti-obesity program, weekly swimming and field trips, according to the program director, Shaneka Smith. There is a small fee for registration and field trips. Call (773) 378-0261, or visit for more information.
  • HOPE Community Advent Christian Church, 5900 W. Iowa St., is offering a six-week program starting June 25 through Aug. 3. The summer program is open to children ages 4 to 13, and runs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will participate in weekly field trips, bible study, crafts and physical activities, among other activities. Meals and a T-shirt are included. Transportation is available to and from the church for a small fee. The program costs $200. A $35 deposit is due when registering and will be applied to the program fee. For more information call the church at (773) 921-2243.

On June 23, the church will have a summer kick off including food, fun and entertainment to mark the start of the program, as well as other summer activities and services the church offers. The event is free and will be outside at the church from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Children ages 6 to 13 can attend Second Chance Housing and Development’s summer day camp, which runs from June 25 to Aug. 24. Participants will meet daily at the organization’s office at 5900 W. North Ave., for a day of sports and other physical activities, cultural arts, life skills and field trips. Some of the planned field trips include the Brookfield Zoo, Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute, among others. The program is free besides a small fee for the field trips. Meals are provided. Spots are still open. Call (773) 914-0338 for more information.

Other community members can take advantage of the free programs the center offers. The Second Chance Housing and Development center offers free GED courses, academic assistance, and beginner through advanced computer training courses. The center also has an anti-violence program where people get together to play sports and learn how to be competitive without resorting to violence.

  • The Chicago Chargers are gearing up for the upcoming season, and youth registration has started for its football team, cheerleading squad and marching band. There is a cost to register. Visit for more information or to register. You can also call Coach Michael Willis at (618) 509-3255.

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