Monday, March 03, 2008

Boise unveils first Mobile Recreation Unit

The city's first Mobile Recreation Unit is coming to a school near you! The bright white van is outfitted with soccer balls, jump ropes, bases, a sound system and other equipment for fitness, nutrition, art and dance activities for kids.

Boise Mayor David Bieter and schoolchildren officially dedicated the Mobile Recreation Unit on Tuesday, March 4 at Jefferson Elementary School, 200 S. Latah St.

City funds were used to purchase the van and provide staff. Additional support is provided by the University of Idaho’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Program and the Boise Sunrise Rotary Club. Boise Weekly has awarded a $3,750 grant to the Boise City Arts Commission to support an artist-in-residence program. The Idaho FoodBank is providing a free after-school snack daily for each child.

"The Mobile Recreation Unit is being launched in response to programming deficiencies identified by the Mayor’s Council on Children and Youth," said Doug Holloway, Boise Parks & Recreation superintendent of recreation.

"Accessibility, both in terms of location and cost, is the key obstacle facing families in connecting their children to safe, quality after-school programming," he said. "Taking the programming to the children is crucial in helping to alleviate the accessibility issue."

Research shows that the hours from 3-6 p.m. are a critical time for kids. The Mobile Recreation Unit helps fill the gap for kids who are unsupervised after school.

The response has been overwhelming at local schools. One hundred children participated in after-school activities March 7 at Jefferson Elementary. 

“We are very excited to have the Mobile Recreation Unit come to Hillcrest Elementary,” said Principal Tim Lowe. “We are hoping that the activities children experience in the after-school program will motivate them to stay active after school, rather than going home to play video games or watch TV.”

“Many of our children do not have access to the multitude of extra-curricular clubs and sports teams available in Boise. This program, which is free to students, will be a welcome addition to our community,” Lowe said.

This summer the Mobile Recreation Unit will visit park sites and other locations. The schedule has not yet been finalized. When complete, it will be posted on the web at www.cityofboise.org/parks under “Activities.”

For more information, contact Doug Holloway at 384-4256 or via email at dholloway@cityofboise.org.