Photographer: JuanCarlos Chan 

Photo Courtesy City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks

Kids taking a dip at their local summertime swimming pool participating in SwimLA.



Summertime is here with stretched-out days, comfortable nights and seemingly endless good vibes.

The 2019 Summer Solstice — the official First Day of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere because the Sun reaches both its highest and northernmost points in the sky  — is Friday, June 21. It will be the longest period of sunlight this year, rising around 5:30 a.m. and not setting until after 8:30 p.m.

We all have a to-do list: vacations, day camps, picnics in the park, backyard grilling or — if you need to shore up the academics instead of building sandcastles — finding an education program that could prepare you for advancement or help you recover from what you didn’t do during the fall and winter.

The San Fernando Valley provides both escapes from the routine and opportunities to expand the mind over the next 2-3 months.

Summer Academic Programs

School’s out for summer.

Well, not quite. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) campus that doesn’t offer some type of free summer program, from education to recreation, from now until early August.

The district’s Beyond the Bell programs are available to San Fernando Valley area schools. And there is something for everyone, grades K-12.

For example, LA’s Best is at Sylmar Elementary. Academic Intervention sessions are at the Chavez Learning Academies or Van Nuys High. Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department (MMED) is offered at Panorama High.

San Fernando High is also offering Academic Intervention and MMED sessions.

Anatola Elementary, Arminta Elementary, Morningside Elementary, Northridge Middle School are among the 19 LAUSD schools taking part in the district’s Summer Reading Backpack program. Students, grades K-8, are provided take-home backpacks filled with reading materials.

All programs will end by July 26. There is still time to register for the programs if you are an LAUSD student, and were enrolled during the spring semester. Independent school and charter school students are not eligible.

For more information, visit the Beyond The Bell website at

Family Fun and Activities 

The City of San Fernando’s Department of Parks and Recreations already has summer day camps, youth cheerleading and a youth summer basketball league in full swing at Recreation Park. Registration is required and there are fees for residents and non-residents.

In July, the department will offer a Tiny Tykes basketball program and the “Summer Sports Heroes” fitness challenge for youths ages 5-13, with a soccer program at Pioneer Park, and a kid’s “bootcamp” at Recreation Park. In early August there is a “pickle ball” program at Las Palmas Park.

For more information, visit the city website at

The Discovery Cube LA Museum near Hansen Dam is offering free and discounted admission to Los Angeles residents on July 2 and Aug. 6. You must show an original and current LADWP statement and matching photo ID. There is a limit of four people per household.

For more information, visit

Library Fun

The Los Angeles county library in San Fernando offers a variety of summer activities including the Toddler Creation Station and Wacky Alien Balloon show in June, and the Mad Hatter Tea Party and LA Dodger Storytime in July. There is also the Summertime Reading and Discovery Program, which continues through Aug. 3. And free lunches for those 18 and under are served from noon to 1 p.m. through Aug. 2.

For more information, visit the library website at

The Los Angeles branch library in Sylmar will be offering free yoga workouts for beginners from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., starting June 22. And “STEAM Building Bricks Playtime” can stimulate your family’s imaginations from 4-4:45 p.m. every Wednesday.

Other summer fun for teens at the Sylmar library includes tie dye crafts, making your own lip balms with cocoa butter, kool-aid and beeswax, and building “artbots.” For exact dates and times, visit the website at

The branch library in Pacoima offers a free lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for kids and teens, ages 1 to 18, through Aug. 9. An interactive presentation on volcanoes takes place today, June 20, at 2:30 p.m.

Future summer events include the Kids-Build-it Club, L.A. Kings Storytime with Bailey and the Ice Crew, and the mobile program “LA Troka: Sembrando Cultura y Nutrición, which promotes health and nutrition, engages students in explorations of Mesoamerica, and encourages them to connect to their cultural heritage.

For exact dates and times, as well as listings for other events, visit the library website at Remember, all libraries are closed on July 4 and 5.