PBHA's Summer Urban Program is a network of 12 community-based summer programs across Boston and Cambridge.
Ali Barker '22 and Thomas Phan '22
PBHA’s Summer Urban Program, or SUP, is a network of 10 summer camps at 11 different sites across Boston and Cambridge for seven weeks each summer. SUP is staffed by 130 college students and 90 local high schoolers, and each summer welcomes more than 800 young people ages six to 13. Our Refugee Youth Enrichment Program (RYSE) is an evening camp serving high school students. SUP offers mornings of academic enrichment, afternoons of educational field trips, and artistic, cultural, and service-learning workshops throughout the week, along with two overnight camping trips and a day-long final trip.
Our Summer Urban Program youth come from low-income backgrounds in the Dorchester, Roxbury, South End, South Boston, Mission Hill, Chinatown, and Cambridge communities. In addition, we have recent immigrant youth between the ages of 13 and 19 from the greater Boston area in our Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment Program, and Native American youth from across Boston attend our Native American Youth Enrichment Program.
Like all of PBHA’s youth programs, SUP builds positive relationships with youth, families, and community partners to ensure that young people in Boston and Cambridge can build the social, emotional, and academic skills needed to define, access, and achieve their own success in and beyond our programs. PBHA’s youth programs strive to meet the following long-term outcomes:
- Youth take advantage of opportunities toward established goals and make plans that show hope and determination.
- Youth access resources and support through positive relationships with adults, peers, institutions, and family.
- Youth act responsibly and have voice in programs and broader communities.
- Youth use the necessary competencies and attitudes to achieve academic success in school.
- Youth use positive social skills and self awareness to make healthy life choices.
Summer Urban Program Camps
Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment (BRYE) offers ESL instruction to recent immigrants living in Dorchester.
Cambridge Youth Enrichment Program (CYEP) operates across three sites in Cambridge, serving low-income students living in Cambridge, particularly those from the Roosevelt Towers, Jefferson Park or Newtowne Court housing developments.
Chinatown Adventure (CHAD) serves young people living in Chinatown, particularly in the subsidized housing complexes there, including Mass Pike Towers, Castle Square, Oak Terrace, Metropolitan, and Tai Tung Village.
Franklin I-O serves youth living in Dorchester’s Franklin Hill and Franklin Field housing developments.
Keylatch Summer Program serves youth living in the Villa Victoria, Castle Square or Cathedral housing developments in Boston’s South End.
Mission Hill Summer Program serves students living in the Mission Main and Alice Taylor housing developments in Mission Hill.
Native American Youth Enrichment Program (NAYEP) serves young people of Native American descent from the greater Boston area.
Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (RYSE) offers ESL instruction to recently immigrated teenagers living in the greater Boston area.
Roxbury Youth Initiative (RYI) serves youth living in Roxbury, particularly those from Academy Homes, New Academy Homes, or Orchard Gardens.
South Boston Outreach Summer (SBOS) serves young people living in the West Broadway, Old Colony, or Mary Ellen McCormick housing developments in South Boston.
LEADERS! provides teens from Boston and Cambridge with full-time teaching and mentoring during the summer and college access, mentoring, and leadership development during the term.
Work at SUP
The Summer Urban Program is run by 130 college students who serve as directors and senior counselors, or teachers, in each camp.
Directors oversee all camp operations, working through the spring and summer to train and supervise camp staff, manage finances, and ensure high program quality. Learn more about directing SUP.
Interested in working with older youth? Leaders! Directors run SUP’s teen initiative, offering support and leadership development to SUP’s teen employees. Learn more about directing Leaders!
Senior counselors manage a classroom of 10 children throughout the summer, implementing a self-designed academic curriculum, supervising field trips and community service projects, and supporting the operations of their camp. Learn more about working as a senior counselor.
In addition to its college-age staff, SUP employs 90 high school students as junior counselors. Teens partner with a senior counselor to co-teach a class and participate in leadership workshops throughout the summer. The majority of our junior counselors once attended the same camp in which they work, and nearly all have grown up in the neighborhoods served by their camp. Learn more about working as a junior counselor.
Last year SUP convinced me that I want to dedicate my life to teaching. This year SUP convinced me that teaching is what I was born to do. – Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment senior counselor
Enroll in SUP
Applications will open in Spring 2020.
SUP costs only $140 per camper, with a sliding scale for siblings. Preference is given to returning campers and children who have particular academic or financial need for the program.
After using the camp descriptions below to determine which SUP camp is the most appropriate for your child, submit one camper application for each child you seek to enroll in camp. Duplicate applications for a single child to multiple camps will not be accepted.
You can download the full paper application here: SUP Central Camper Application 2019 (PDF)
Please note that BRYE and RYSE require submission of a referral form before accepting applications.
[My son’s] academics are stronger and it shows. He always comes home and talks about his daily camp adventures. – parent of a Roxbury Youth Initiative camper
Volunteer with SUP
Applications will open in Spring 2020.
We will soon be accepting application for those who wish to volunteer their time to SUP. Part-time support are volunteers who need to be available at least 30 hours per week from June 10th to August 11th. The part-time support description is below.
Summer Urban Program Part-Time Staff Job Description
SUPport is a dynamic role with flexible scheduling that requires carrying out a wide array of tasks in different environments. SUPport staff work 30 hours a week. At least 15 hours per week must be during camp hours, 9 am – 4 pm. SUPport staff members will work about 240 hours over the course of the summer. (Applicants must be free 2 full days per week).
SUPport is non-paid. SUPport staff members will receive Harvard housing from 6/14 – 8/9 for a nominal housing fee of $100 for the summer. SUPport staff members must uphold the PBHA Code of Ethics, policies, and abide by the Harvard University Summer Housing Policies.
- Harvard Undergraduates (including graduating seniors)
- Available 30 hours per week (the majority of which are between (7-5 on weekdays)
- Experience working with children
Pluses, but not required:
- Licensed to drive for at least 2 years and willing to become certified to drive PBHA 12-passenger van
- Strong swimmer and willing to become lifeguard certified
- Substitute for absent senior counselors
- Support Logistics for SUP-wide events including: Midsummer Celebration, Weekly BBQs, Final Shows, SUP Training, SUP Blow-Out
- Chaperone field trips including overnight camping
- Drive vans for camp field trips
- Lifeguard if able for field trips
- Attend weekly staff meeting on Sunday evening
- Liaison with on camp
- Input program and training data
Expectations & Timeline:
- Be in residence from June 12- August 12
- Volunteer 30 hours per week
- Attend van or lifeguard training if able
- Attend SC training (to be prepared to sub for teachers)
- Pay $60 for housing
- Attend Sunday Meetings
- Follow through on weekly assignments
- Communicate personal schedule one week in advance