Hunting Park: Recreation Center Keeps Kids Moving Through Winter Months

Boys Basketball
The Folk Arts - Cultural Treasure's School played the Universal Institute Charter School in intramural basketball.
Boys Basketball
The Folk Arts - Cultural Treasure's School played the Universal Institute Charter School in intramural basketball.

The disparity of Hunting Park can be striking. One area can be bustling with people at one point and void of activity the next.

The Hunting Park Recreation Center illustrates this perfectly.

“Some days are a little quieter than others,” said Kevin Cush, the director of maintenance at the center, “then days like today are really crazy.”

Inside, teachers, students and coaches from various Philadelphia charter schools have gathered as part of the intramural program. Schools meet on a weekly basis at different locations across Philadelphia, providing students with opportunities outside of the classroom.  This Tuesday, several charter school basketball teams competed at the Hunting Park Recreation Center.

Luke Medico, the coach of the Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures School’s (FACTS) intramural basketball team, is glad that programs still exist in Philadelphia.

“This is one of the only intramural programs still running,” Medico said. “I just read about the public schools closing during the weekends to save money on electric bills. It’s sad, but it’s good this is still going. It keeps kids off the streets.”

Some people believe in the intramural programs so strongly that they’re willing to stay even if they may not be expected to.

Dominique McKeever
Dominique McKeever, cheerleading coach for the Universal Institute Charter School, watched as the her squad cheered on the boys basketball team.

Dominique McKeever was a teacher at the Universal Institute Charter School and rebooted their cheerleading programming, giving the girls an activity to match boy’s basketball during the winter months.

Even though she has since left teaching to possibly pursue medical school, McKeever made the decision to stay on as the cheerleading coach.

During the winter, the center is mostly empty, except for the indoor basketball leagues. However, that scene changes with the weather and come springtime, it becomes a multi-sport haven.

“We sponsor practices and games during the week,” Cush said. “There are games through the weekend and we’re going to pick up with baseball once the weather gets better.”