Explore, learn, interact during city camps
While summer break might allow students to take a chance to lounge around the house and flip through their favorite TV channels, it can also provide youth with several hands-on outdoor opportunities and activities.
Children can learn the fundamentals of different types of sports, wilderness survival skills or fishing techniques to get the perfect catch by signing up for a summer camp through the Wilsonville Parks and Recreation Department.
"I think a lot of them (the camps), specifically with the youth, are lifelong learning camps," said Erica Behler, recreation coordinator for the Wilsonville Parks and Recreation Department. "It's fun and it's a chance to meet other kids and get out of the house. You're also doing some great hands-on learning."
And while registration is still open for most of the upcoming camps, camp-goers have new treats in store for them.
New to the community are the Code to the Future camps. One is a Minecraft video game design camp where youth ages 7-12 can explore basic-level coding and create a Minecraft-themed project. The camp runs Aug. 13-17 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Parks and Recreation Administrative Offices, 29600 S.W. Park Place, Wilsonville. The second Code to the Future Camp appeals to a slightly older crowd, ages 9-14. The camp is aimed at youth with some coding experience. Campers will have the ability to use professional text-based coding language to create Minecraft mods — content that alters gameplay and gives the player more options in how they interact in the world of Minecraft. This camp follows the video game design camp from 1-4 p.m.
Also new and popular this year is the YMCA camp, Y Chefs - Around the World, at the Tauchman House, 31240 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, Wilsonville. This camp runs from Aug. 13-17 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and targets youth ages 7-12. Y Chefs takes children on a worldwide culinary experience by allowing them to create cuisine from different places around the world. Children will have the chance to learn about creating recipes, nutrition, using cooking utensils and cooking. The camp will culminate with a mini restaurant where students will cook dishes for themselves and their parents.
"They're going to learn a bunch of different cooking skills," Behler said. "Kind of a different camp that seems to be popular so far."
Aside from the new camps available, there are also still many of the traditional camps that have drawn in youth every year. The sports camps that focus on skills are run through the company Skyhawks and take place every week at Memorial Park. These sports camps, which include tennis, soccer, basketball, volleyball and more, are either half or full-days, and are available for ages 3-12.
There are also Mad Science Camps, year-round ice skating classes and other outdoor camps still open for registration.
Aside from summer camps offered through the parks department, the Center for Research in Environmental Sciences and Technologies (CREST) offers a few opportunities. EnviroCamp — an explorative nature day camp for incoming first- through fifth-graders — has open spots for the July 30 to Aug. 3 session. The farm internship where students entering grades 8-10 learn about sustainable farming is not filled during its Aug.6-16 session. To learn more about these summer opportunities, visit www2.crest.wlwv.k12.or.us/register/.
Behler also said more teen leadership opportunities and camps for older teens with Wilsonville camps are not out of question for the future.
"Something we have talked about as a department is trying to move toward that model," she said, adding that besides the Babysitters Bootcamp for older youth that happened earlier this summer, the Parks and Recreation Department is looking at adding outdoor adventure camps in fall that are open to the high school and adult population. "It's a good opportunity to meet kids that live in the local area that you might not just meet through school."
For more information on summer camps and to register, visit www.wilsonvilleparksandrec.com/parksrec/page/summer-camps. There is also an application on the website for financial assistance that can be filled out and dropped off at the Wilsonville Parks and Recreation Administration building.