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.

Students enrolled in Des Moines Public Schools, 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.

“Participating in school activities is also good for academics, and we have worked hard in recent years to increase the number of our student who are participating in a range of activities,” said Jason Allen, director of activities at DMPS. “This new partnership with Des Moines Parks & Rec will open the door for thousands of students to become more involved in sports, which is a direct benefit to our schools.”

Interested in having your child participate? Parents can opt-in through the DMPS Activities 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.”


Program Enrollment

1. Who is eligible for the program?
Only Des Moines Public Schools students enrolled in the Free/Reduced Price Meal program qualify for these specific discounts.

2. How do I gain access to the program?
Eligible participants will have the ability to opt-in through the Des Moines Public Schools website during the registration period or by going through the Des Moines Public Schools Activity website: https://activities.dmschools.org/youth-programs/parks-rec-scholarship-opt-in/. This will activate communication on how to then register through Des Moines Parks and Recreation.

3. Who do I contact for additional information?
For information about the Free/Reduced Price Meal program contact Sharon Fuller with Des Moines Public Schools by emailing sharon.fuller@dmschools.org or calling (515) 242-8175. For information about activity registration visit Des Moines Parks and Recreation at dmparks.org.

4. What if my child is no longer Free/Reduced Price Meal eligible?
All accounts reset annually. Participants must opt-in each school year. If no longer eligible, the Greater Des Moines Recreational Activity Scholarship Program (GRASP) is an additional scholarship program supported by IMPACT Community Action. Contact (515) 518-4770.

5. When does Youth Recreational Scholarship eligibility expire?
All accounts reset on July 31 the following year. Participants must opt-in each school year.

Activity Registration

1. What are the discounted fees through Des Moines Parks and Recreation?

  • Group Swim lessons (excludes private lessons) are$5 per qualified participant.
  • Pre-K, Kindergarten, Youth and Middle School sports are $5 per qualified participant. Sports covered by this program are Basketball, Flag Football, Volleyball, Soccer, Baseball/Tee Ball/Kickball

2. Is there a limit to how many activities I can sign up for?
No. Anyone eligible can access the scholarship for any registration or activity included in the program.

3. How do I register for activities?

  • Visit dmparks.org and click Register Online.
  • Create an account through the ACTIVE registration system.
  • Enter a valid email address. Account must be created by student parent/guardian. Once created the same account will be used from year to year. (NOTE: Only the active student will be eligible for any discounts.)
  • Activate scholarship through the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Administration Office by contacting (515) 237-1386.

If you have an existing account and have chosen to opt-in to the program, simply contact the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Administration Office, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to activate these discounts.

4. What if I already have an account through Des Moines Parks and Recreation?
Contact the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Administration Office to have scholarship information added to your account. Once completed you will be able to register online using the discounts.

5. What if I register for a program then opt-in for the scholarship program?
Once registration is complete, no refunds will be given. The scholarship will be activated and available for any future registrations.

6. What if I am already enrolled in GRASP?
GRASP includes these discounts for youth sports and groups swim lessons. All GRASP discounts apply through September 30 of the following year.

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