The school term brings special holiday dates with the Mission Férias@Porto

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Some like it hot, some don’t. But, let’s face it: summer days are fun days and the children in Porto are having a ball. The municipal programme Missão Férias@Porto delivers eight weeks of fun and pedagogical activities to the over 660 children, of which 64% reside in the city of Porto. And although this is the second time that this mission is held amid the pandemic, everything is done according to the safety measures issued by the DGS. Also, Special Educational Needs' students get the chance to try out all sorts of cultural and sports activities. This mission is great!

The Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira visited the Missão Férias@Porto and had the opportunity to interact and see first-hand the activities prepared for youth this summer in the city, at the Ramalde Sports Park, accompanied by the councillor for Youth and Sports, Catarina Araújo.

One of the activities that this initiative offers is target practice and skate. João, one of the participants of the Missão Férias@Porto all geared up, with his helmet on his head, prepared to debut in the Skate Park circuit. “I have had such fun, I play football, golf and I learn how to play Rugby”, João enthused and added that the Missão Férias@Porto is lots of fun and learning”.

Councillor for Youth and Sports explains that the Missão Férias “continues to provide all the fun to children, in a safely manner”, also offering visits to museums, science workshops, magic and cinema sessions.

Rita, another holiday maker, stated that she participates in the initiative for the four year running, because “it is close to home and the activities are in the open air. We are always getting fresh air and that is cool”.

And not even rain discourages them, or the pandemic, “it is a little different than before Covid, but we still get fun anyway”, declared Rita.

Catarina Araújo affirmed that the initiative is “aimed at allowing children to continue to play, have fun and learn outdoors, with a set of modalities that are expressly thought and prepared to provide all the comfort and safety, so that parents rest assured while their children are enjoying such amazing spaces, like this one”.

For the second year running, the Missão Férias@Porto is held amid the pandemic; that is why that the initiative has been extended to six spaces in the city, with groups of 12 participants, and a strengthening of the number of teachers (including a coordinator/sanitiser) and the number of outdoor activities, as well.

Catarina Araújo enhances that the participants “are very collaborative, they have internalised well the rules”. “We have provided a small approach to the rules they have to follow and now they are the first ones to disinfect their hands and respect all the measures that have to be observed upon arrival”.

It is all about inclusion

This year, the Missão Férias is endowed with a strong inclusion focus. The initiative joined the Associação for Adpated Sports in Porto (ADADA), and included children with special education needs, “who are integrated in the classes and are accompanied by trained supervisors”.

The Missão Férias@porto also adopted the ColorADD code to mark the facilities’ signposting, thus helping those who are colour blind. Moreover, there are 80 available applications to youth that has been signalled by Porto City Hall Social Cohesion services. Applications were up 40% and were all taken in one week’s time, so the Missão Férias@Porto will open a new pole this coming month. From 2 to 27 August, the Pavilhão Pêro Vaz de Caminha, located in the Bairro do Amial, will offer sports and other activities to those in the waiting list, accordingly to the submission of the application.

Emphasising that “our applications were all completed in a record time this year, Catarina Araújo states that this “additional effort” is aimed at “meeting this great demand and help parents in this difficult time, providing the children fun and educational activities in a safely manner”.