More than 100 children from Los Angeles County will get to experience the great outdoors — most for the first time in their lives.
The county is partnering with California State University, Northridge’s Aquatic Center at Castaic Lake to provide youth from the Department of Family and Child Services (DFCS) and the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) PALS program to host the second annual Youth Recreation Day, at no cost to the children and their support on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 and 16.
The recreation day will include classes on water and boating, opportunities to kayak and canoe, ride an ATV and more provided by Los Angeles County and is funded in part through a grant received by the Department of Boating and Waterways.
CSUN Aquatic Center Executive Director Nathan Martin said the event is an opportunity for youth in different environments to connect to the outdoors, which could have lasting effects on their futures.
“The kids [from DFCS] could literally be a quarter of a mile from a park, but don’t go because their families never went,” he said. “Imagine the impact and the exposure they are getting, where they can get [experiences] that you would never get in an urban environment.”
Martin noted that the days provide the youth with more chances to explore their potential as members of a community.
“You can lend these kids an experiential opportunity. And this is not the only experience they are being exposed to — it starts to break open their lack of exposure and the kids can start to think about college, about being a community servant. Many of the things in their lives have been negative, and to see something so positive and freeing allows them to have those conversations.”
For more information on CSUN’s Aquatic Center at Castaic Lake and the services it provides, visit http://www.csun.edu/health-human-development/recreation-tourism-management/aquatic-center-castaic-lake.