For children who can’t make it to the city’s recreation programs, the
Mobile Recreation Unit is bringing the activities to them.
Parks, Recreation and Community Services employees take the
brightly colored truck to various parks throughout the summer. Inside
the truck is everything from basketballs to board games to art
supplies -- and it’s all free.
About a dozen mothers gathered with their children Thursday at the
truck’s first stop at Mountain View Park. The truck parked in the
shade while the toddlers stacked blocks, rolled balls and climbed
through plastic tunnels.
Alex Lowber-Himmel, 3, took a break from stacking some blocks to
compare the Mobile Recreation Unit to a trip to the toy store.
“Sometimes I go to the toy store; here, I get toys from the
truck,” he said.
Andrea Searle, who brought her 19-month-old daughter Katelyn to
the park, said the other kids were as much fun as the toys.
“It’s good for them to interact with each other,” she said.
While the morning crowd at Mountain View Park was made up solely
of toddlers, Recreation leader Jose Garcia said the unit draws older
kids to play basketball and chess.
“We try to get to the high school kids,” he said. “They don’t have
some of the programs that the middle school kids do.”
The Mobile Recreation Unit has been offering free activities to
kids throughout the city for about nine years, Recreation Program
Coordinator Mickey DePalo said. The city operates two of the
specially equipped vehicles, which he said were purchased with money
donated by Burbank Police from drug seizures.
“A lot of people take the schedule and show up wherever we’re at,”
he said. “We get kind of a following.”
In addition to stops at local parks, the units stop at events like
the Outdoor Picture Shows in the IKEA Courtyard. During the school
year, the unit provides activities for kids after school.