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Junior Lake Lifeguard Program Reopening For Summer 2021



L.A. County Junior Lifeguard Program Returning For Summer
Photo Courtesy of Castaic Lake Junior Lifeguards

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation announced Friday that the Junior Lake Lifeguard Program will be reopening for Summer 2021. 

The popular summer program offers a wide range of co-ed activities for youth ages 9-17 at three LA County freshwater lakes located at Castaic Lake Recreation Area, Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park and Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. 

After having to forgo last year’s sessions due to the pandemic, the 2021 program reopens with COVID-19 safety protocols and smaller class sizes to ensure the health and safety of staff and participants.

“The Junior Lake Lifeguard program provides an opportunity like no other for youth to get outside again, partake in water activities and learn crucial life-saving skills,” said Norma E. García-González, director, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation in a statement. “Our incredible trained staff will ensure youth participants gain unique experiences and essential water safety knowledge that can be used throughout their lives, whether in situations helping others or in their careers as lifeguards.”

Avoiding a long drive to the beach, the Junior Lake Lifeguards program provides a space for youth who live many miles from the coast to learn water safety at their nearby lake, connect with each other and have fun. The three lakes are located across Los Angeles County and easily accessible by major highways. Additionally, L.A. County lakes allow training within a calm freshwater environment without waves or strong current.

The Junior Lake Lifeguard Program is overseen by trained, certified lifeguard staff who serve as mentors and impart their experience by leading hands-on activities that introduce youth to water safety, athleticism, teamwork and a career in aquatics. Youth participants learn from various activities that range from first aid, CPR, rescue skills with paddleboards, rescue cans and more.

Established in 1990, the LA County Parks Junior Lake Lifeguard Program has grown into one of the most successful water safety training programs in Los Angeles. Each year hundreds of Junior Lake Lifeguards participate in the program and obtain the skills to become a real lifeguard. Past participants have used the skills and training learned as Junior Lake Lifeguards in careers as lifeguards and even to provide vital first aid to family members.

2021 Junior Lake Lifeguard Tryout Schedule

Online registration for tryouts opens Friday, April 16. Youth participants are required to try out for the program and must pass to register. Free tryouts will be held at two locations and pre-registration is required here.

Tryouts for Bonelli & Santa Fe Dam Program:

Location: Norman Johnson Aquatic Center 405 S Santa Anita Ave, Arcadia, CA 91006

  • Sunday, April 25, 2021 (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday, May 8, 2021 (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • Sunday, May 9, 2021 (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

Tryouts for Castaic Lake Program: 

Location: Castaic Aquatic Center – Pool 31350 Castaic Rd, Castaic, CA 91384

  • Saturday, April 24, 2021 (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • Sunday, April 25, 2021 (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday, May 1, 2021 (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

2021 Junior Lake Lifeguard Program Schedule

The 2021 Junior Lake Lifeguard program offers three 2-week sessions to accommodate Public Health protocols for smaller classes. Youth participants who pass the tryout can sign up for the morning session or afternoon session or opt for a full-day experience which includes an extra hour for lunch time. Two-week programs are offered at all three lake locations during the following weeks:

  • June 21 – July 1 (Monday – Thursday)
  • July 12 – July 22 (Monday – Thursday)
  • July 26 – August 5 (Monday – Thursday)

Participants can choose from the following session times:

AM session: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ($241)

PM session: 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ($241)

Full day session: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. ($482)

The following safety protocols will be implemented to meet current COVID-19 health guidelines.

  • Smaller group sizes with a student-to-instructor ratio of 15:1.
  • Face coverings are required for instructors and students at all times, except during swimming and when eating or drinking.
  • Physical distance at a minimum of six feet must be maintained.
  • Best practices are utilized to prevent infection and promote proper hygiene.
  • Daily health and temperature screenings of instructors and participants.

For more information, visit here.

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Community News

L.A. Mayor Signs Camping Ordinance Aimed At Restricting Homeless Encampments



Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance on Friday aimed at restricting homeless encampments in certain areas of the city.

The ordinance, which is set to take effect 30 days from the signing date, bans camping near “sensitive” facilities including within 500 feet of schools, daycares, parks and libraries, according to the  L.A. City Council agenda.

In addition, the measure also restricts sitting, lying, or sleeping as well as storing, using, maintaining and placing personal property in any public right-of-way such as ramps, driveways or bike lanes, among others.

On Wednesday, the council voted 13-2 to approve the measure before Garcetti’s signature. 

Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Nithya Raman voiced opposition to the ordinance, with Bonin recalling his own struggle with housing.

“Some of those nights I slept in the car, some of those nights, when my car was in the shop, I slept on the beach. I cannot tell you how much turmoil is in your heart when the sun is setting and you don’t know where to sleep,” Bonin said. “I cannot tell you how demoralizing and dehumanizing and defeating that experience is when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep.”

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said the measure helps regulate shared public spaces while “acting with compassion and purpose” to help people experiencing homelessness.

“This ordinance establishes fair and clearly defined rules for how sidewalks in Los Angeles are regulated — while linking those rules to a comprehensive, compassionate strategy for street engagement that will establish reasonable pathways to positive outcomes and, ultimately, permanent homes,” O’Farrell said.

In order to enforce the new order, the City Council has to take action through a resolution to designate a certain area for enforcement, according to the ordinance.

The city plans to send out “street engagement teams,” along with law enforcement, to assist those experiencing homelessness in the designated encampment by providing connection to services, including interim housing. 

Last month, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) released a report outlining the number of shelter beds available across the county.

The number of homeless shelter beds in the L.A. region has increased by over 50% in the past three years, however, demand still outpaces the capacity, according to the agency.

LAHSA found that the L.A. region’s shelter capacity on any given night was 24,616 beds — less than half of the estimated 66,000 people on the street countywide. 

The previous Homeless Count was conducted before the pandemic, with many housing experts and community members reporting an increase in the unhoused population in the past 18 months. 

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Community News

L.A. Homeless Shelter Capacity Up 57% In Three Years, Still Less Than Demand



Devon Miller / The Valley Post

The number of homeless shelter beds in Los Angeles has increased by over 50% in the past three years, however, demand still outpaces the capacity. 

The 2021 Housing Inventory Count and Shelter Count, released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Wednesday, shows the nightly shelter capacity in the L.A. area has grown despite challenges faced by the pandemic. 

LAHSA found that the L.A. region’s shelter capacity on any given night was 24,616 beds, a 57% increase over the last three years. The agency also reported 33,592 permanent housing options, an increase of 16% over the same period.

Through “unprecedented coordination” and a critical influx of state and federal emergency funding, the L.A. region’s rehousing system’s response to COVID-19 saved lives, according to  Heidi Marston, executive director of LAHSA.

“We must build off of that momentum as we emerge from the pandemic to build the infrastructure necessary to address our homelessness crisis and collectively confront the conditions that continue to push people into homelessness,” Marston said in a statement. 

The Los Angeles region needs to build a more balanced system with more housing options. A balanced rehousing system has five permanent housing exits for each shelter bed; the Los Angeles system is closer to one-to-one, according to the executive director. 

The Housing Inventory Count is a census of all interim and permanent housing options in the homeless rehousing system at a given point-in-time. This year, the Housing Inventory Count occurred on Jan. 27.

LAHSA reported these results despite the global pandemic causing a considerable strain on its shelter supply. 

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, all of Los Angeles County’s congregate shelters had to decrease their bed count through a process called decompression. 

However, strategic investments by the federal, state, and local governments through Project Roomkey and Project Homekey helped make up for the loss of capacity, according to the agency.

The Shelter Count revealed that there were 17,225 people in a shelter on the night of the count, which is virtually unchanged from the previous year. 

LAHSA cited that without the addition of 2,357 Project Roomkey beds and 497 Project Homekey beds, there could have been a more significant drop in the shelter count due to decompression.

Following the advice of public health officials, LAHSA did not conduct an Unsheltered Count in 2021 to protect the 8,000 volunteers needed to complete the Count each year from COVID-19. The agency is planning to resume the Unsheltered Count in 2022.

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Community News

Home Prices In San Fernando Valley Reach New High, Median Nearing $1 Million



Los Angeles Homes

The median price of San Fernando Valley homes sold during June reached a record high while sales soared 56.9% and the number of properties listed for sale lingered at low levels.

The median price was $955,000, up 28.9% from June 2020, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors (SRAR).

June was the fourth consecutive month with the median above the $900,000 benchmark.

“Not long ago it would have been inconceivable that the San Fernando Valley would see the median home price inching toward $1 million,” said Diane Sydell, president of the association in a statement. “Now it seems inevitable, especially with today’s wealth of buyers, dearth of inventory, and heated competition over virtually every listing.”

The condominium median price for June was $519,000, up 12.8% from June 2020, but 3.9% below the record high $540,000 set this April.

A total of 554 single-family homes closed escrow during June, up 56.9% from a year ago and 11.5% ahead of May’s tally. It was the first month this year above 500 sales and the highest monthly total since June 2018.

The statistics for condominium sales were not as dramatic, in part because of the extremely limited supply of condominiums listed for sale, according to SRAR.

There were 725 active home and condominium listings at the end of June, the first month above 700 listings this year.

“The market has been overheated and buyer fatigue may be a factor going forward,” said Tim Johnson, the association’s chief executive officer. “Too many buyers are weary of competing with unseen competitors and losing to a higher bidder even when they come to the market fully prepared to buy. ”

That may translate in buyers being a bit more cautious, which when combined with the
reopening of the economy may yield a slowdown in sales and a few more listings.

Yet Johnson stressed that a “few more listings” doesn’t go far, even if some buyers are starting to take a bit longer to jump into the market.

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