Safe Summer Fun for Kids, Jobs for Youth
By Dianne Anderson
Any excursion this summer to break through the four walls of pandemic constriction is sure to feel like an exciting vacation getaway for kids and youth.
It’s been an ugly pent-up year, but the city of Long Beach parks is getting kids safely back together again with what looks like the start of some semblance of normalcy.
Classes and swimming programs will keep kids and teens busy and entertained every day of the week. In other programs, young people 18-25 years can make some money on the side while they pick up new skills.
Gladys Kaiser said all safety protocols are in place as the city continues to offer the programs that have been open since last July, but they are prepared to go into extended hours through the summer.
Day camp and other classes will be offered at 23 park sites throughout the city, including fun for some of their communities without parks. They can access the mobile recreation program.
“We go into the hard to reach community where a park might not be easily accessible. It’s [like] old school close down the streets, bring out the tables and recreation equipment and provide direct recreation to the neighborhood,” said Kaiser, manager of Community Recreation Services for city Parks, Recreation and Marine.
For those unable or uncomfortable leaving the house, a variety of virtual programming is also available through the summer.
Day camp is affordable, but she said scholarship opportunities can help families in need to carry costs for multiple children. One session runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at $30 a week. The extended Day Camp runs from 7 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at $50 a week.
“Long Beach has always offered scholarships, but we know more so in the pandemic there’s a higher need. We have been able to fill all of the scholarship requests that we have received,” she said.
Indoor swimming pools at Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Silverado Park will offer lap swimming and water exercises. Starting June 21, they will reopen for swimming lessons.
Kaiser said they are partnering with the school district and local nonprofits to get the message out that their programs and parks are gearing up for a lot of activities, walking, running, tennis courts and skate parks, and swimming.
For those 18 through 25 years without a high school education or a job can get back on the right path, finish up their GED, and earn while they learn.
David Sall, director of Operations at Conservation Corps of Long Beach, said they have several exciting projects in the city that can lead to a future career. Their nonprofit offers job training and education in a holistic approach.
Students are connected with wrap-around support while they’re on the job and working on their education.
Green is the basis of the program. Currently, he said they are in the process of moving 1,000 dead and dying trees from the Long Beach area, and constructing a lumber mill at Willow Springs Park where the recovered wood may end up as a picnic table, or some other functional item.
“We repurpose things like that. We do all kinds of stewardship and maintenance in the DeForest Wetlands in North Long Beach area,” he said. “We’re planting trees literally everywhere all over the city.”
Another program sponsored by the city’s Water Department helps eligible income-qualified homeowners with the removal of water consuming landscaping, replaced with drought tolerant plants.
Community outreach is also happening through their Greater Long Beach area emergency response. There, the youth are delivering food distribution, especially in areas heavily impacted by COVID-19 and unemployment.
Their main operation is in Signal Hill. He said they are recruiting for youth all the time, and they are encouraged to apply online. He said that about 30 to 40 percent of their youth participants are Black.
Work experience programs usually run about one year, and youth can also get skilled at habitat restoration, and complete an internship with the prospect of higher pay down the line.
“We make sure you’ve got your resume, and showcase the good work that you’ve been up to before you go on to whatever you want to do next, probably using skills and certificates you earned while you were here with us,” he said.
He is also excited that many more openings are coming through the CARES Act, and future American Recovery Plan investment dollars related to infrastructure and green infrastructure.
“There’s a lot of opportunities to connect with young adults in our community who want to get to work, and really want to fulfill their dreams and goals, which is what we’re here to do.”
Upcoming city summer parks programs, see
For parks mobile access, see https://www.longbeach.gov/park/recreation-programs/free-and-low-cost-youth-programs/mobile-recess/
For Summer Day Camp information, see <https://longbeach.gov/park/recreation-programs/programs-and-classes/youth-and-teen-programs/summer-camps/
For more information on youth jobs with the Conservation Corps of Long Beach, see