Kids Will Be Kids 4

The Dan McKinney Family YMCA and the La Jolla Recreation Center

The Dan McKinney Family YMCA, which was formerly the La Jolla YMCA, has served the community for more than 50 years, and because of its new renovation the facility now serves more kids, adults and families, all while strengthening the community. The facility changed its name and adopted the Dan McKinney Family name after the longtime resident of La Jolla and beverage distributor McKinney, who passed away in 2016, donated $5 million to the renovation project.

In January, the Y completed its final phase in the renovation process, and now the 59,000-square-foot facility includes new childcare facilities for both the preschool and after-school program. A youth studio has also been added so kids can take an assortment of dance classes, and the gymnastic center and basketball gymnasium and camp all have been given a facelift. An adventure center was also built, which includes climbing structure and slides, so there’s plenty for the kids to enjoy! They can also take an array of cooking classes in the new teaching kitchen, and those who are in grades 2-7 can even take part in a summer cooking and chemistry camp where they can learn about science while creating some fantastic culinary concoctions. 

The outdoor spaces have also been expanded. The Ann Wolley Aquatic Center has received a beautiful and fun makeover. The state-of-the-art facility now houses a cool-water lap pool that has eight lanes, a fun warm-water activity pool and a therapeutic spa. There is even a rock climbing wall that’s made out of plastic colorful “rocks”  that sprouts out of the lap pool. The coolest thing by far for the kiddos would have to be the new outdoor splash pad with a variety of water-spraying fountains that are scattered all around the area. There’s a banana tree that sporadically pours out water. How fun! 

With all the new facilities that have been added, there will be more after-school enrichment programs next school year as well as swimming classes for the children. 

“Since the renovation, our membership at the new Dan McKinney YMCA has more than doubled from around 6,000 members to over 12,000,” says Sue Ball, the district executive director of YMCA of San Diego. “Our programs have been able to expand as well, and since the completion, we have received nothing but positive feedback, and now more than ever before we’ve become a staple here in the community.”

PULL QUOTE: “Now more than ever before, we’ve become a true asset to this community.”

8355 Cliffridge Ave., La Jolla, California, 858.453.3483, YMCA.org

The La Jolla Recreation Center, formerly known as the Children’s Playground and Recreation Center, was gifted by journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1915 and was dedicated for the children of La Jolla. She stipulated in her donation that the building must be open to anyone, regardless of “race, creed or opinions.” The center was built by San Diego’s most famous and increasingly admired architect, the late Irving Gill. Gill also constructed such landmarks as the Bishop’s School, the Children’s Pool at La Jolla Cove and the La Jolla Women’s Club.

This public space that is right in the heart of La Jolla is considered a San Diego historical site and offers up playgrounds, basketball courts, tetherball, foosball and green space. In addition to all of those amenities, there are also picnic facilities, a community building and two meeting rooms.

The little kids can take Pee Wee Sports, which is taught outside at the community park, and learn the necessary skills to play sports such as soccer, T-ball, kickball, basketball and more in a structured, fun and safe environment. For older kids, a co-ed superstar gymnastics camp is offered throughout the summers along with co-ed youth football clinics.

The Rec Center in 2015 celebrated its 100th anniversary, and it still functions just as great as it did back when it first opened. Unlike a lot of Gill’s other work, the appearance of the center is almost entirely unchanged. 

PULL QUOTE “The building must be open to anyone, regardless of ‘race, creed or opinions.'”

615 Prospect St., La Jolla, California, 858.552.1658, SanDiego.gov