By Hadiya Presswood,
Special to the AFRO

Free youth camp sessions will be offered by D.C.’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) this summer in Scotland, Md. at Camp Riverview.

Children ages eight to 13-years-old will spend a week enjoying outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, swimming, crafting, horseback riding and educational programs. Camp Riverview has been operating since the 1960s, and is situated on a 200-acre waterfront, wooded property.

“The goal of residential camp is to provide a space for children to learn important life skills. It helps to build confidence, independence, and social skills,” Thennie Freeman, Interim Director of DC Department of Parks and Recreation. “Through physical activities and nature exploration, kids learn how to work as a team and build new bonds. It also takes kids away from daily urban distractions and of course it’s fun!”

The camp is free of charge for District residents and runs from the end of the school year to the beginning of the next. The camp operates to serve and represent underserved communities and can host up to 90 youth each week.

“For a lot of our campers, this is their first time leaving their parents or having that opportunity to be away from home,” says Watani Hatcher, affectionately known as Mr. W, who is the manager of Camp Riverview and the manager of the Parks and Environmental Department for DPR.

The session dates are June 26 – 30, July 10 – 14, July 24 – 28, Aug. 7 – 11 and Aug. 14 – 18, and each week DPR transports youth to the camp and back. Alternating weeks allow the staff and counselors time to rest and prepare for the next group.

Ongoing registration began in April and concludes on June 1st. Families are only able to register in-person at recreation centers located throughout the city.

Camp officials say that the registration, orientation and information sessions are taking place in person for a reason.

“A lot of our stuff is in person because we’re taking people’s children for a week. We want there to be a connection. We think having that public engagement piece is valuable to the parents, to the staff and to the administration. For us, in person is better because you’re getting that one-to-one. We’re able to answer any questions that you may have,” explains Hatcher.

Residents can register at the following recreation centers:

Tuesday, May 2 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
King-Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street SW

Wednesday, May 3 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th Street, NE

Thursday, May 4 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Watkins Recreation Center, 420 12th Street, SE

Tuesday, May 9 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Woody Ward Community Center, 5100 Southern Ave SE

Wednesday, May 10 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Benning Stoddert Community Center, 100 Stoddert Place, SE

Thursday, May 11 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Deanwood Community Center, 1350 49th Street, NE

Tuesday, May 16 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Fort Davis Community Center, 1400 41st Street, SE

Wednesday, May 17 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Kenilworth Recreation Center, 4321 Ord Street, NE

Thursday, May 18 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Ridge Road Community Center, 830 Ridge Road, SE

Tuesday, May 23 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Rosedale Community Center, 1701 Gales Street, NE

Wednesday, May 24 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Arthur Capper Community Center, 1000 5th Street SE

Thursday, May 25 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100 Joliet Street, SW

Friday, May 26 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Barry Farm Recreation Center, 1230 Sumner Road, SE

Tuesday, May 30 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Douglass Community Center, 1921 Frederick Douglass Court, SE

Wednesday, May 31 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Ferebee-Hope Recreation Center, 700 Yuma Street, SE

Thursday, June 1 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Fort Stanton Recreation Center, 1812 Erie Street, SE

For more information, visit