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Napa Parks and Recreation Foundation launches fundraising effort for youth recreation scholarships

Westwood Hills Bench (copy)

A bench at the top of Westwood Hills Park. Along with funding youth scholarships, the Napa Parks and Recreation Foundation is seeking to fund signs and a trail map for Westwood Hills Park. 

The Napa Parks and Recreation Foundation has launched the “Play it Forward” fundraising effort to help fund recreation scholarships for Napa's youths next summer.

The scholarship program — created over a decade ago as a partnership between the city of Napa and the foundation — pays for 85% to 95% of the cost of summer recreation programs, up to a maximum of $500 in fees per household.

City of Napa residents 17 and younger from households making below the Area Median Income of the city will be eligible for the scholarship. (The city of Napa AMI listed in the 2021 grant program guidelines is $80,000.)

“The goal of the program is to ensure every child who wants to take one of our programs can,” said Katrina Gregory, the city of Napa’s recreation manager. “Everyone deserves an opportunity to go to summer camp or swim lessons. And so we’re trying to provide that.”

A press release notes the effort is in part because the organization needs more funding than usual to support the program because of pandemic-related financial impacts. The campaign is also seeking to advertise the program to the more than 4,500 qualifying youth in the city of Napa, Gregory said.

Fundraising in the winter allows for time to figure out and announce the scholarships in the early spring, Gregory said. That gives recipients time to register for generally in-demand programs like swimming programs or camps.

The scholarship also supports public health, Gregory said, in the sense that it gives a greater swath of the population access to recreation programs.

The long-running youth scholarship bears some resemblance to the $500 recreation scholarship for Napa’s seniors established earlier this year, according to Gregory. The senior scholarship has a similar goal of bolstering public health — it seeks to cut down on isolation and other health issues, and to bring in lower-income seniors, Latinx seniors and single seniors to city recreation programs.

The youth scholarships used to give out a set amount of dollars, Gregory said, but the funding structure was changed to be percentage-based so that the more expensive programs are accessible to scholarship recipients, she said.

The recreation department is still running fewer programs than it did prior to the pandemic, Gregory said. But the city has gradually recovered economically since facing early-pandemic budget difficulties, and there will easily be over 100 different recreation programs available to kids next summer, she added.

Along with the grants, the parks foundation is working on a project to provide signage and a trail map at Westwood Hills Park and to enhance the city’s parks. Gregory said the signage effort — which has been in the works for several years — will help make the heavily wooded and hilly Westwood Hills more accessible.

“The foundation’s really focusing on two major initiatives,” Gregory said. “One is the scholarship program; we want to make sure it’s sustainable over the years so we can meet the financial needs of our community. And the second is fundraising for park signage at Westwood Hills, and to make sure parks are usable and accessible for everyone in the community.”

Curious what a manufactured home looks like inside? Check out this home in Napa's 55+ community, Oaktree Vineyard. It was recently listed for sale for $295,000 and is now in contract.

You can reach Edward Booth at (707) 256-2213.

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