Mayor Todd Gloria Tuesday greeted 30 youth from some of San Diego’s most underrepresented neighborhoods as part of his Come Play Outside program intended to ensure San Diego’s assets are accessible to all for learning and recreation.
The youths, invited by the city’s parks and recreation department, came from Bay Terraces, City Heights, Encanto, Colina del Sol, Linda Vista, Mountain View and Paradise Hills to join an ocean education and sportfishing excursion field day.
“Access to San Diego’s coast and ocean is an important opportunity for all San Diego youth,” Gloria said. “The Pacific Ocean, which is in San Diego’s backyard, should be accessible for all of our communities, especially those who might have barriers to connecting to this important resource.”
“Thanks to programs like this, supported by conservation organizations, state agencies, and sportfishing operators, the possibility of ocean recreation, education and even careers become attainable for all communities,” Gloria added.
Gloria’s “Summer for All of Us” initiative, which houses the Come Play Outside program, was started in July and is intended to create opportunities for kids and their families to engage in fun, healthy recreation in historically underserved neighborhoods.
The program was intended to serve more than 15,000 kids this summer.
Come Play Outside has organized and funded programs such as aquatics, an adventure camp, Teen Nite and movies in the park in 21 recreation centers and aquatic centers across San Diego’s South and Central neighborhoods.
For Tuesday’s sportfishing event, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, Friends of Rollo, the Coastal Conservation Association and the Sportfishing Association of California partnered to ensure annual educational ocean experiences, provide hands-on education about fishing, and even help students reel in their own fish.
Participating youth climbed aboard the “Dolphin,” an 85-foot vessel.
“All of our sponsoring partners have provided ocean access for generations of youth throughout the state,” said Ken Franke, executive director of the Sportfishing Association of California. “The significance of creating accessible opportunities for ocean experience is game changing for youth by exposing them to educational, career and recreational experiences that connect them with our environment, science and fun.”