Workreation is a student job training and employment program that is an integral part of the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department’s mentor-ship program. The program is designed for teens age 14‐17.This year marks our 56th year of running the program.



The Workreation program is the most unique and oldest youth employment program west of the Mississippi River. This program was started in 1954 in Oakland when a group of concerned citizens wanted to address issues around youth inactivity during the summer. The developed the concept of of blending together work and recreation as a way to keep youth busy.

The program migrated to San Francisco in 1959 when city leaders became worried about their juvenile delinquency rate increasing. When the program first began in San Francisco there were 4 sectors that the youth could work in: the recreation division, park division, music division, and aquatic division. The hours assigned for each youth worker were 4 to work and 2 to recreate. The program originally focused on 15 -16 year old boys and trained them in the park section where they would do work such as picking up trash, weeding, and general cleanup of the parks. They were paid $1.00 a day, in total $150.00 dollars for the whole summer. Through the 56 years, the program has been run by a variety of staff with different styles. Past Workreation coordinators include Sandy Lee, Lorraine Banford, Margot Reed, Larry McNesby, and Linda Barnard.  The program is currently run by Jennifer Gee.



Workreation flyerDenia working at computer

Over the past 56 years, the Workreation program has evolved from the ages of youth we target, to the types of jobs we currently offer. Teens, ages 14-17, who either live or go to school in San Francisco are eligible to apply for a Workreation job. Teens can apply for school year positions to work after school and on Saturdays, and summer positions to work in day camps, aquatic centers, rec centers or parks. We hire about 100 teens for the school year and over 200 teens for the summer. The pay rate is minimum wage and teens can work up to 10 hours per week during the school year and up to 30 hours per week during the summer. Our teen staff are encouraged to recreate for a minimum of 2 hours a week. The Workreation program offers workshops throughout the year in job readiness and life skills not only for our teen workers, but are open to all teens in San Francisco. Our program continues to change with current trends and best practices.

How to apply:

Step 1: Go to the website:

Step 2:  Scroll Down and find “Department” search box.  Select “Recreation and Parks”

Step 3: Scroll down to 9910 (WORKREATION) Public Service Trainee  and click on the link

Step 4: Read the the job description and the job announcement.  At the bottom of the announcement, click the link “Fill out the Supplemental Questionnaire and Application NOW using the Internet.

Step 6: Check the box that says: “I agree with the above terms of use.

Step 7: Choose either “I am a new user” or “I have registered previously”

Step 8:

  • New User: Fill out registration


  • Applied Before: Put your user ID and password (if you have an existing account and have applied before but FORGOT YOUR USERNAME and/or PASSWORD: please scroll down and click the link to retrieve your information.

**Note: The e-mail you use in (when you apply) will be the point of contact to give you notifications regarding interview dates/times and if you have been accepted or not. Please try to use an e-mail address that you regularly check. Please check your Spam/ Junk Folder as some e-mails may be directed there and look out for any address.

Important Workreation Dates:

  • Applications will be accepted beginning December 14, 2016 and are due by 4:30pm on January 11, 2017.
  • Interviews will be February 7-17 at the County Fair Building (1199 9th Avenue @ Lincoln)
  • Applicants selected for a Workreation job will have their employment processed on April 1st or 8th at 501 Stanyan Street
  • Mandatory and paid Workreation Orientation will be mid-May
  • Summer Workreation program will tentatively conclude in August 2017

Junior Camp Counselor - Serving as a Junior Counselors at one of our 90 different camps throughout San Francisco

Preston helping out with tennis (2)“I love how interactive this job is, how every day I get to teach kids about sports and school! This job is very meaningful to me.”





Aquatics Facility Supervisor Assistant - Working at one of our nine aquatic centers, assisting our finest aquatic facility supervisors

James teaching swimming"I became a youth worker because, when I was little I used to see youth workers and thought that they made a difference. Now, I have the opportunity to make a difference."





Facility Coordinator Assistant - Assisting a facility coordinator at one of our 82 recreation centers and club houses with various tasks related to the building operations

jimmy at sunset rec. typing (2)"I like having the opportunity to take on new challenges, because it makes me become a better worker! I also love building new friendships at work between co-workers and supervisors. We are all like one big family here. "





Green Jobs- Assisting in our parks, working with gardening and park staff, performing outdoor tasks.

IMG_3644"I enjoy the variety of experience I receive everyday coming to work! I believe that this experience will help me in the future with my career!"





Clerical Assistant - Performing administrative tasks in areas such as Human Resources, Finance, Operations, Support Services, and other administrative divisions.

Denia working at computer“I like how my job is so close to home and all of my co workers are so friendly. I love how everyday they have something for me to do, not just sit around being bored.”





Workreation does not only focus on employing young people and giving them valuable work experience, but also training them before and during their jobs! We offer a multitude of diverse workshops ranging from being a new youth worker, all the way to team building, so you can connect with your co-workers on the job! There are no requirements for these workshops, but they are a first come basis! Each workshop will be 2 hours long, will be open for about 30-50 kids depending on the workshop, and lastly will be held after school during the school year. So we encourage you to always check our website for more details.

Workshops Include:

        • Effective Communication With Children and Youth
          • This training will be taught by Cal Sac and will help youth understand the dynamic & effective communication tools, learn strategies for checking understanding, and learn activities that engage young people
        • Professionalism
          • This training will be taught by Cal Sac and will help youth understand what "PROFESSIONALISM", actually is and how it relates to children
        • Team Building
          • This training will be taught by SFSU Sailing and Paddling Camp and will teach team building skills through kayaking
        • New Youth Worker Competencies
          • This training will be taught by Cal Sac and will help youth understand the four main principles of youth development as they relate to children & youth identity and development, and will help them establish their own list of core competences
        • Basic First Aid Kit Training
          • This training will be taught by SFRPD staff and will teach the children how to apply basic first aid
        • Interview Workshop
          • This training will be taught by SFRPD staff and will teach youth the DO’S and DON’T’S of the interview process and will give them practice at interviewing through mock interviews

The Workreation Youth Council is going to be a group of extraordinary young people who have been through the Workreation program and care deeply about the programs future. The council will consist of kids and adults that are currently permanent staff that are in charge of the program. The youth council will be responsible for running workshops, updating the webpage and Instagram, checking up on current Workreation members, outreaching to youth in low income and at risk areas, and lastly guiding the program to where they want it to go in the future.



Letters From 1959


1959 Summer Workreation Opportunities


First Workreation Pamphlet