Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fog or No Fog: Its Been a Great Summer at Rec and Park

August 2010

Why are my kids in school already? Why did the sun not officially report for duty until yesterday? Summer flew by particularly fast this year, but at Rec and Park there was still much to enjoy and celebrate.

The Best Summer Camps in the City

Last Friday marked the end of our camp season, and I’m happy to report that this was one of our strongest summers in history. We had 15,000 camp registrations this summer, more than double what we had last year. This summer, children were able to choose from 50 different camps, including traditional camps like Silver Tree and Pine Lake and a host of different sports camps, art and science camps, learn to swim camps, tennis camps and outdoor adventure camps, including my personal favorite, Bite Me, a boating camp that allowed campers to see sharks on the bay.

One of the highlights of the summer was a music video created by our campers at the Harvey Milk Center. Campers learned choreography to the song “Thriller,” designed their own props and filmed the video on their own.

The video can be seen here.

SFRP Harvey Milk Summer Camp Thriller from Harvey Milk Summer Camp on Vimeo.

This year, thanks to our efforts to expand day camps and offer expanded hours to working parents, we were there for you as school district summer programming was cut back. Our expanded offerings will help us with you year round offerings too, as we generated nearly $1.1m in revenue from our programing. Thanks to our staff for working hard this summer and creating lasting memories for our kids and families.

Outside Lands

The 2010 Outside Lands Festival occurred last week, and by all accounts, this was the smoothest year in terms of setup and breakdown we’ve had in the short history of this event. Another Planet estimates 80,000 people attended over the two-day event (including a few fence jumpers), which offered some big-name acts (Kings of Leon and Al Green were my favorites), food wine and a great energy from the crowd.

This concert generated over $1M in revenue for the Recreation and Park Department. Sound complaints were down from 200 the year before to less than 50 this year. Our meadows are bouncing back quickly and the park is completely reopened to the public.

I want to thank Another Planet, RPD staff, Martha Cohen from the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Parking and Traffic and the SFPD for helping to make this a successful event.

Sunday Streets Comes to Golden Gate Park

I didn't actually see any penguins today, but "Penguins to Penguins," the city's latest Sunday Streets event from the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park to the San Francisco Zoo, had plenty of other fun attractions to enjoy.

Sunday Streets is modeled after a program in Bogata, Colombia, and encourages folks to eat healthy and lead active lifestyles. Our San Francisco version is a partnership of multiple city agencies and community-based organizations, and I'm proud to say that Recreation and Parks has been an active participant in every single Sunday Streets event to date.

"Penguins to Penguins" included children's games, hula hooping, a yoga garden, skating demonstrations and a Bixi Bikeshare demonstration.

Sunday Streets is a great way to get the family some exercise and enjoy the day together in a safe (car-free) atmosphere with lots of excitement and energy from the crowd.

Click here for more information.

Green Steam Machine

Last week, we unveiled our brand new Green Steam Machine, an eco-friendly alternative for weed control that eliminates the use of pesticides in and around children’s play areas. Purchased with help from the San Francisco Parks Trust, the Green Steam Machine is the first of its kind here in the United States and I can’t be more thrilled with the potential of this new machine.

We are going to put one in every Park Services Area (PSA) around the city so that our gardeners and supervisors have regular access to this new machine.
Incidentally, the new machine was demonstrated to gardeners and supervisors at the future site of a new bee, bird and butterfly garden at McLaren Lodge. Our crews will be planting a variety of plants and flowers that attract a variety of species, including monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and mockingbirds.

For more info, click here.

Park Maintenance Scores Continue at All Time High

For the third quarter in a row, our park maintenance scores have averaged 91%, which is a testament to the terrific job our staff continues to do despite the limited resources our department faces. For details visit

Enterprise for High School Students

This summer, like every summer since 1978, our department worked with youths from Enterprise for High School Students in three of our parks--- Buena Vista, Golden Gate and St. Mary’s, clearing ivy from overgrown hillsides, clearing pathways and replanting various park areas.

I want to thank and commend the staff and students who helped out in our parks this year. Enterprise is currently applying for a grant that will expand the program to Saturdays during the school year. I look forward to seeing these kids out there again very soon.

New Recreation Model

This week marks the beginning of our new recreation model. Our staff has been working very hard over the last several weeks in preparation for this transition and I want to thank them for their efforts.

We are moving from an outdated fixed-post model to a more flexible model that will ultimately provide more programming to the public and allow the public to decide the types of programming they want to see at their rec centers.

Fall season Phase One includes after school enrichment, senior programs, early childhood development, dance and aquatics programs. Phase two begins the first week in September with additional programming. For details or to register for a class visit: