While families work to navigate the challenges of virtual learning and the loss of organized school activities, the Long Beach Parks, Recreation & Marine Department is offering some affordable recreation programs to the community. Within the last week, the department launched a pair of new youth recreation programs, part of a series of activities that the city plans to offer for Long Beach’s kids.
The most recent programs are an ARISE middle school and high school camp, along with a mobile recess program for students in grades K-8. Both programs will run until the middle of December, offering some consistent programming for kids over the next few months.
According to Joy Warren, Recreation Superintendent at the Parks, Recreation & Marine (PRM) Department, the programs are intended to provide options to the community while also targeting underserved areas of the city.
“In general, what we want to do with our programs is offer various environments for the community, whether they’re comfortable with in-person or virtual,” Warren stated. “For mobile recess, we’re able to bring out our program to an ‘open street’ concept, so we can offer a number of activities outdoors while also implementing the protocols we had with our summer programs. We are definitely targeting communities that don’t have as much access to our facilities and our parks.”
The ARISE program, which stands for Adaptive Recreation in Special Environments, offers recreational activities to middle school and high school kids with physical, developmental, or emotional needs. The camp is constructed to provide specific accommodations for participants, with a higher ratio of staff members available to provide assistance.
The camp is being offered each Saturday from Oct. 10-Dec. 19 at Stearns Championship Park. The four-hour day of activity runs from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and is available for just $4 per session. In order to ensure that the needs of each participant are being met, registration must be done in person, and more information is available by calling (562) 440-2867.
The mobile recess program is being offered free of charge to children ages 5-14, with activities being offered Monday-Friday from 3-5 p.m. at various locations across the city. The program will run from Oct. 12-Dec. 18 and is being funded with CARES Act funding which was earmarked for recreation and enrichment programs for Long Beach’s youth.
Interested parties may sign up through the PRM website, or by calling (562) 570-3226 for more information. Sign-ups are also being offered on-site, so long as there is an adult present to register the child and there is still space available. There are currently four trucks that will serve as mobile recess sites, with two staff members present and a capacity of 24 participants at each location.
Warren said that the close relationship between the PRM department and the Long Beach Health Department has yielded strong results so far this summer, and those safety protocols remain in place for these new programs. She indicated that the staff has been trained on health department guidelines and a framework is in place to ensure the programs can be conducted as safely as possible.
“We’ve been fortunate that we have a direct liaison with the health department. So with all our programs, if there’s been any exposure situation, or if someone reports that they’ve tested positive, it only takes a quick phone call to the health department,” Warren explained. “They have been so good about talking us through each step with notifying anyone that’s potentially been exposed and what to do in those cases. And so far, so good. We haven’t had to shut down any activities and have been able to notify the people who’ve needed to quarantine, if that’s the case.”
Warren also indicated that the department is currently working on implementing more programming for kids, specifically programs to assist students with virtual schooling, as well as a virtual after school program. More information about the city’s recreation programs is available at longbeach.gov/park or by calling (562) 570-3150.