New Scholarship Makes Recreation Programs More Affordable for Thousands of Des Moines Kids


DES MOINES, IOWA — Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 - A new partnership between Des Moines Public Schools and Des Moines Parks and Recreation seeks to expand youth services in the community and have all students involved in an extracurricular activity by the time they complete fifth grade.

Starting Jan. 1, students enrolled in the Des Moines Public School System, who qualify for free and reduced meals, can opt-in to register for Parks and Recreation youth sports and swim lessons for just $5. Programs include:

  • Coach Pitch Baseball for Grades 1-2
  • Tee Ball for K-1
  • Swim Lessons for K-12 (Group Lessons Only) 
  • Youth Basketball for Pre-K-7
  • Youth Flag Football for Pre-K - 7
  • Youth Soccer for Pre-K - 7
  • Youth Volleyball for Grades 1-7

The scholarship will be available to an estimated 25,000 school district students. Eligible participants will have the ability to opt-in through the Des Moines Public Schools website anytime throughout the year.

“This initiative will remove a barrier for participation for thousands of kids across the city,” said Benjamin R. Page, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Learning to swim is such an important life skill for everyone to have and there are so many benefits for those who engage in youth sports. We are grateful for the support from our Mayor and City Council, who believed so strongly in the effort that they voted to make all sports in this program only $5, rather than 50% off the price.”

For more information about the Youth Recreational Scholarship program, visit

Benjamin R. Page
Director, Parks and Recreation

 About Des Moines Parks and Recreation
Founded in 1892, the Parks and Recreation Department’s mission is “Helping Des Moines Live Well, Play Hard and Protect the Earth.”  Our department is responsible for the management of 75 parks, over 4,000 acres of parkland, 81 miles of trails, 7 cemeteries and numerous recreational facilities.  In addition, we offer numerous programs in the areas of sports, urban conservation, environment education, sport instruction, volunteerism, rentals and special events.  For more information on Des Moines Parks and Recreation programs or facilities, visit our website (, Facebook (, Twitter (@desmoinesparks) or Instagram (