The Kroc Center, “prototype” of the Salvation Army’s community centers, celebrates its 20th anniversary

recreational education
Salvation Army Kroc Center in Rolando. Photo Credit: Screenshot, @SanDiegoKrocCenter via YouTube

The Salvation Army Kroc Center at Rolando, this weekend marks 20 years of community recreation and arts with a day-long celebration and anniversary event.

Saturday’s commemoration includes an ice and pool party, with ice skating and swimming, and a film “Dive-In”, 2002 lilo and stitchfollow.

2002 – when the Kroc Center opened its doors – is a topic of the day. Members can participate for free, but the day includes a $5 return price for Kroc passes for individual parts of the celebration. Plus, there will be exclusive Kroc products for the 20th anniversary and Mission Brew will be giving away shaved ice.

Skating night starts at 1 p.m. and pool night at 2:30 p.m. Register online for tickets.

On Sundays, the center hosts a 12:30 p.m. ceremony at the Joan B. Kroc Theater, hosted by veteran news anchor Sandra Maas, now museum director, with keynote speaker Alex Montoya, author and disability advocate. Dial 619-269-1412 to RSVP.

Located on 12 acres, the 132,000 square foot Kroc Center includes a variety of activities, from the aquatic center, recreation field and theater to a family resource center, education labs and preschool.

It is one of many community centers built across the country thanks to Joan Kroc, the late widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. Upon his death, the Salvation Army received a gift of $1.6 billion from his estate.

The Rancho Santa Fe resident had specifically ordered that half of the donation be set aside to build and operate community recreation and education centers.

According to the Salvation Army, Rolando Kroc Center became the prototype for other such centers in the late 1990s following Ms. Kroc’s $92 million donation to the charity to build a community center in San Diego. By 2015, 26 of the centers had been built, including sites in Phoenix and Philadelphia.

Kroc died of cancer in 2003.

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