Kite flying at Bodega Bay

En Español

Hey Kids! is a weekly feature looking at what’s coming up for families and kids of all ages.

Prompted by a recent kite-flying experiment (Jasper’s first!) at Bodega Bay, and inspired by the upcoming Berkeley kite festival, the craft project of the week (or month, at the rate it’s going) at my house lately is kite-making.

It’s been a lot of fun, but really, making a kite is not a particularly practical skill. Once they were part of spycraft, instruments of scientific experimentation, but with modern technology they’ve been relegated to recreational status. Kites can be beautiful, and nostalgia has its merits, but people have to eat, too. Principles and ideals are helpful, but “real” skills might be more handy when it comes to setting the table.

So, what skills might be useful for living in or growing up in the Mission? Spanish, mural painting. There doesn’t seem to be many shop classes offered these days, even though car repair isn’t something you can outsource to China…. Hopefully low riders won’t totally disappear, too. The bespoke factories of yesterday are gone, but sewing might still be a useful skill, either for pay or pleasure. Cooking, definitely. This neighborhood is all about food. There’s a growing trend among economists to theorize that our current knowledge-worker jobs might get outsourced too, but kids are still going to need to know how to use a computer, even if it’s a green one.

Levi’s Factory, when work was Work

Who knows, maybe there’s a market for handcrafting kites yet.

Bike repair: not just for hipsters or fixies
In addition to its free bike repair clinic (and paid services, of course), Pedal Revolution offers internships to interested kids ages 14 to 24. Interns learn bike mechanic fundamentals, helping to assemble new bikes and refurbish used ones. They also get hands-on sales training and customer service experience, and learn inventory management. For more information about the internship program, call Clara Wade at 415-920-9200, ext. 309; for upcoming clinics, call 415-641-1264.
Pedal Revolution, 3085 21st Street at South Van Ness.

Learn Spanish
The simplest way to learn Spanish might simply be to hang out at the playground. For something slightly more structured, Buena Vista Alternative Elementary School offers a two-way Spanish/English immersion program. For younger kids, check out Conexiones.
Spanish playgroup Fridays, 11 a.m. Ages 0-2. $10. Conexiones International Play School, 155 Peralta Avenue at Precita Park.

I learned to cook in my Mama’s kitchen, and my son is learning to cook from me. For those of us too busy or black-tongued, cooking classes abound in the Mission. 18 Reasons always has something going on, usually for adults, but occasionally for little ones, too. Camp would be a great immersive introduction to the skill that keeps on giving.
Culinary Camp: week-long, Aug. 2-6, 9-13 and 16-20, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Ages 10+. $400/week. Contact Roberta DesBouillons at or 415-550-7976 for more information or to register.
Apron Strings, at Katherine Michiels School, 1335 Guerrero Street at 25th.

Computers, programming and more
Learn how to make games, program (even if you are a poet) and more at Noisebridge. Classes and schedules change frequently, so check their Google calendar for the latest or join the mailing list.
Noisebridge, 2169 Mission Street at Sycamore.

Paint a mural
As always, Precita is a great place to learn to paint a picture, learn about the murals, or just hang out. Drop-in art classes are on hiatus until fall, but two art camps are coming up.
Kids Art Camp: Aug. 2-6; Eco Arts Camp: Aug. 9-13. Both camps Mon.-Fri., 1-5:30 p.m. Ages 5-10. $240. 415-285-2287 to register. Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, 348 Precita Ave. at Precita Park.

Green jobs
Starting this fall, the Jewish Vocational Service and CCSF are offering the Green Launch Pad program, a “semester-long training that will provide students with an in-depth orientation to the green economy, focusing on career opportunities available in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Classes will be held mostly at the Mission campus, and will include solar panel installation, green autobody and environmental horticulture. Upon completion, enrollees will receive some green, too: $1,000 to get started.
Information/orientation session: Mon., Aug. 16, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Ages 18-24. Drop in, or contact Patricia Kwok at or 415-782-6258 for more information. CCSF Mission Campus, 1125 Valencia Street, room 275.

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Kate Holland Holmes

Kate lives, eats, reads and daydreams on the edge of the Mission, just off of 24th St. She's been in San Francisco for 11 years and is the proud parent of a (2 year old) native.

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