The Energy Saving Adventures program, nicknamed ESA, turns everyday activities into fun and teachable moments for teens. The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation has run dozens of these activities over the past few years – from QR code scavenger hunts and beach cleanups to “socket soccer games” and The Great Recycled Boat Regatta.
Simply put, it’s good, old-fashioned quality time outdoors. But along with the physical and emotional benefits that come from sunshine and exercise, teens are also learning about their carbon footprint and how to conserve resources with simple behavior modifications.
Caroline Bartolome, Program and Education Manager for the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Outreach Program, oversees DPR’s ESA program. She’s classically trained in exercise science and has been able to apply her knowledge, and her passion for sports, to ESA curriculum.
“Our educational activities are designed to prompt action and discussion instead of relying on rigid, traditional tools like worksheets,” said Caroline, adding, “We want teens to witness, first-hand, the consequences of their actions and the impact those actions have on the world around them.”
ESA Program highlights include:
“I may be part of the last generation of ‘free range kids’ – a group who played outdoors until the street lights came on,” said Caroline. “Things are different today, so we’re creating safe and rewarding outdoor experiences for these teens. I’m committed to mentoring them to become the next generation of eco-warriors and outdoor adventure enthusiasts.”
Earth Day at the REC Club and several summertime surf trips and beach cleanups are planned for the near future. Learn more about ESA and how the program is benefitting local communities and youth by visiting their website or by calling (858) 966-1328.
Article written by Jessica Geiszler, Marketing & Public Outreach Manager, County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation
Community Service & Youth