TAMPA, Fla. -- The Jackson Heights Center in Tampa features lots of cool things for kids. There is a pro-level football field with gorgeous turf, a full hoops court and and computer room stocked full of video games.
During the summer the biggest buzz at the center comes from the state-of-the-art recording studio where kids can learn the music business from both sides of the microphone. The best part is it is free for teens ages 13 to 19 as part of Tampa’s Stay and Play program.
The program runs seven days a week from 6:00 p.m. to midnight and offers teens free meals and transportation.
“You can do everything here you could in an actual studio,” says Joshua Clement, the man working the controls. “Make beats, write lyrics.”
The Stay and Play program starts Friday, the first official day of summer for the majority of kids in the Tampa Bay area. It has been a hit with kids and parents since it first debuted a few years ago.
The program is available at nine different rec centers around Tampa. All you need is a free rec card.
“This is a positive alternative to the streets,” says Jamal Jefferson, a supervisor at Jackson Heights. “It’s a great way to get them out and active in the community.”
Stay and Play is one of many free or affordable outlets for local kids in the summer.
For information on summer programs in the Tampa Bay area, visit the following links:
- Tampa Stay and Play: www.tampagov.net/parks-and-recreation/teens/stay-and-play
- St. Pete Rec: www.stpeteparksrec.org
- New Port Richey Rec: cityofnewportrichey.org/index.aspx?NID=146
- Manatee County Sports: www.teamsideline.com/manatee