With the high school renovation project behind schedule and the city's only community swimming pool out of service until fall, recreation leaders are scrambling to provide other summer programs for Laguna Beach youth.
Normally, hundreds of youths flock to the Laguna Beach High School pool each summer for an afternoon swim, said Gene Gravley, president of Laguna Enrichment and Resource Network (LEARN), a nonprofit group that provides activities for young people.
This year, however, the pool will be out of commission because it is being remodeled along with the high school. As a result, youngsters must either use the ocean, travel six miles to the nearest pool at the YMCA in Laguna Niguel or find something else to do.
"The community has had to go elsewhere," Gravley said. "The beach is it for this summer."
To offset the loss, LEARN will add a midday trip to the beach to a variety of other programs it will offer youngsters this year. In addition, the city, which normally offers swim classes each summer, has beefed up the list of other options available to youngsters.
Recreation director Cindy King said, for example, that the city is pushing its junior lifeguard program for children ages 8 through 15 as an alternative activity.
The city has also added classes in pantomime, cooking, modeling, sign language, cartoon drawing and guitar lessons. A soccer camp and a Kids Paddle Camp at the Newport Aquatics Center is also available for the first time this year, King said.
"We have more new things than usual for youth because of the fact the swimming pool is not going to be available to us this summer," King said. "We're just redirecting our emphasis for this one year."
LEARN programs include a four-week Summer Fun School at Top of the World Elementary School that features 15 different electives for $185; a four-week specialty program at the same location for $195 which provides activities for children who will enter kindergarten in the fall; writing, math and science classes at UC Irvine that cost between $220 and $405; as well as a variety of sports--soccer, tennis, baseball and surfing with fees ranging from $45 to $100.
"There's still plenty of space available," Gravley said. "Nothing's filled up yet."
For more information about LEARN activities, call (714) 497-6011. For information about city programs, call the Recreation Department at (714) 497-0716.
Since the Laguna Beach High School pool has been closed, students have been traveling to Laguna Hills High School for swimming and water polo classes, Principal Barbara Callard said.