SAN FRANCISCO, CA –A field trip program launched this week acquaints kids from underserved neighborhoods with the joys of Golden Gate Park—then empowers them to return with their families, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today.
The Junior Guide program, which began Monday and will run through July 22, will serve more than 600 youth participating in the City’s free summer camp program, Summer Together. Facilitated by Rec and Park and the San Francisco Parks Alliance, the campers take shuttles to Golden Gate Park from recreation centers in neighborhoods further from the park, including the Tenderloin, Chinatown, North Beach, Bayview, Portola, Potrero Hill, the Mission, Bernal Heights, the Excelsior, Crocker Amazon, Oceanview, and the Western Addition.
Once they arrive, the campers enjoy a whirlwind of fun and learning: touring the San Francisco Botanical Garden, playing at the Koret Children’s Quarter, enjoying sweeping views from the SkyStar Wheel, riding the carousel, and hearing from Golden Gate Park experts, including authors, naturalists, gardeners, and more.
Junior Guides receive a bracelet passport that includes free family admission to the Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco Botanical Garden, and the Conservatory of Flowers. They are also given information on Museums for All, which offers free or reduced cost admission to the California Academy of Sciences and deYoung Museum for families receiving food assistance benefits.
“Golden Gate Park belongs to all San Franciscans, regardless of neighborhood,” said Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “The kids have been having a blast, and that enthusiasm is contagious. We want them to return with their families and introduce them to their favorite spots in the park, from the Bison Paddock to the first public playground in the country.”
“SF Parks Alliance is honored and excited to collaborate with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department on such an impactful project. We strongly believe every park belongs to every resident and are committed to supporting projects that increase access to our parks,” said San Francisco Parks Alliance CEO Drew Becher.
The Junior Guides Program was planned for 2020 as part of Golden Gate Park’s 150th birthday celebration put on by Rec and Park and the San Francisco Parks Alliance to showcase the Park’s history, cultural attractions, and recreational activities. The 2021 launch coincides with the lifting of the statewide health order.