There are two San Francisco Recreation and Park centers that are more queer-focused in the San Francisco Bay Area: Eureka Valley Recreation Center and Harvey Milk Arts Center. The sports activities generate the most revenue for SF Rec & Park, thereby allowing more creative avenues to unfold in social groups and activities. It seems some centers do better at cultivating the LGBT youth of our day. Harvey Milk Arts Center and Eureka Square Recreation Center are able to develop these avenues because the sports activities have taken off at their facilities.
Eureka Valley is nestled in the Castro District, at 100 Collingswood Street. They have a mix of extreme sports, such as kayaking groups or Brazilian martial arts, and social groups such as children’s programs, recovery programs, and youth advocacy events. They have taken advantage of the productive sports programs and utilized the revenue stream it created to give more power to the LGBT programming, which appears to be successful. When you walk in the door, you will find a very queer-friendly atmosphere. The center has created this vibe, set up to help the community and understand its needs. While the primary aspect of the center is dedicated to standard park & recreation, the leaders here have ‘upped the ante’, so to speak, with their advocacy programs and intense LGBT cultural alliances.
A source described it as “still a family atmosphere & sex positive” at the same time. LGBT youth advocacy programs are available through the age of 24. There are other age-range groups as well. You can register for any recreation programs they offer by first creating an account. To do this, call them at (415)831-6810.
The Harvey Milk Arts Center has several youth classes and has the cutting-edge technology even some business offices are missing. Kids have choices like media or music production, or dance & theater. You can call this center at (415)554-8742 or stop in. Their hours are: Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Youth really have a spot there to explore their artistic side not usually associated with a recreation center”, another source states. “They have a dance studio, rehearsal rooms and even teach kids how to produce their art via Mac computers. A great avenue for Rec & Park to go would be to have a youth advocacy program started specifically by youth, run by youth, and with minimal adult supervision.” This may be an idea they are considering.
When it comes to participation in SF Recreation and Park activities, anyone is welcome to be involved. What about the cost? The cost varies depending on the activity. However, SF Rec & Park has allotted certain scholarship money available on a sliding scale. To qualify, one can go to the main office at McLaren Lodge. This is at 501 Stanyan Street, right outside of Golden Gate Park and across from The Panhandle. Bring documentation for proof of residency, such as a utility bill, and show proof of income- this could be in the form of a disability payment, state aid, or your regular paycheck. It will then be determined if one is eligible for a full or partial scholarship to use towards all activities. It truly is something everyone can be involved in.
To learn more about classes, space availability, or how to get involved, please visit: www.sfrecpark.org