Federal Way ‘fun van’ will engage kids at local parks this summer

Free mobile recreation program will run through Aug. 25.

This summer, the Federal Way Community Center is offering a free program which will bring playground fun to local parks Monday through Thursday from July 5 to Aug. 25.

Each day, the newly wrapped community center van will travel to six parks a week, two per day. Activities will include games, crafts and various sport activities.

All of the equipment is new and includes hula hoops, soccer balls and soccer goals, jump ropes, flying discs and more.

This program aims to provide opportunities for kids in kindergarten through grade 12 to participate in a community center program they may not otherwise have accessed because of distance or financial constraints.

“This was kind of in response to the pandemic as an opportunity for kids to come together and have social opportunities that would work on their emotional needs, mental health, and just kind of support them in a way that they weren’t supported maybe prior to or during the pandemic,” said Federal Way Community Center Cultural Events & Arts Coordinator Cassie Swan, who is in charge of the program.

Swan went on to say that the community center wanted to make this new program mobile in order to reach kids that were unable to come due to travel or financial inaccessibility.

“Accessibility was huge for us. So the parks that we selected, we really thought about areas that aren’t served with recreation opportunities as much and so we tried to identify where children could easily walk.” She noted that with gas prices so high, transportation is more difficult than ever to many people.

With this program, kids will be able to participate in fun, interactive summer activities with their peers in their own neighborhoods.

Steel Lake and Cedar Grove parks will be visited on Mondays, Saghalie and Mirror Lake on Tuesdays, Steel Lake and Lake Grove on Wednesdays, and Saghalie and Wedgewood on Thursdays.

The Federal Way Community Center received funding for this project from the Washington Recreation and Park Association (WRPA) through the Summer Experiences and Enrichment for Kids (SEEK) Fund program.

During the pandemic, kids missed out on a lot of social interaction which most likely had a negative impact on their social skills development and mental health, according to Swan.

“This is our response to provide kids a chance to recover some of those social skills, build those social skills and work on improving mental health by being outside and playing with new friends.”

The mobile recreation program will take place Monday through Thursday from July 5 to August 25 at the following locations.

10am-1pm 2pm-5pm
Monday: Steel Lake Park Cedar Grove Park
Tuesday: Saghalie Park Mirror Lake Park
Wednesday: Steel Lake Park Lake Grove Park
Thursday: Saghalie Park Wedgewood Park
Newly decorated Park and Play van outside the Federal Way Community Center on June 6, 2022. Photo credit: Sarah Fox

Newly decorated Park and Play van outside the Federal Way Community Center on June 6, 2022. Photo credit: Sarah Fox