Upcoming BookTrails fundraiser to support scholarship funds | SteamboatToday.com

Upcoming BookTrails fundraiser to support scholarship funds

— Going into its fourth summer, BookTrails is expected to be bigger than ever this year.

An organization that aims to foster outdoor education and activities with reading, BookTrails hosts several week-long summer programs with a focus on a common environmental theme matched with a book.

A few of the new camps that will be offered for the first time this summer include a Harry Potter camp, a Magic Tree House camp, a Spirit Animals camp in addition to more classic camps like the Reading on Ranches camp. BookTrails will also offer half-day camps and a new program for preschoolers accompanied by an adult.

One of the nonprofit’s goals is to ensure programs are provided to children no matter what their economic situation.

Fundraisers like the Western Hoedown help fulfill that mission.

For the first time, BookTrails will host a Western Hoedown event from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Howelsen Hill’s Olympian Hall to foster support, share stories and celebrate the popular kids program.

"There are so many kids in Steamboat who would love to be a part of BookTrails but their family may not be able to afford the fees," said Emily Krall, BookTrails founder and current executive director. "The scholarship fund ensures we can let anyone in who wants to do this."

The specialized programs require the involvement of a number of staff members and resources in order to be successful.

The Western Hoedown will include a barbecue dinner from Rex's American Bar and Grill along with carnival games for kids. There also will be live entertainment provided by the Yampa Valley Boys and the 2014 Western Music Association Female Poet of the Year, Susie Knight.

"We really want to celebrate Booktrails' successes and for people to learn more about what we do," Krall said. "This really helps connect the bookstore with families in the community and shows that we are not just a store but more of a community asset."

After numerous surveys and a collection of quantitative data from participants and parents involved in the program, Krall said kids who take part in the BookTrails programs tend to read more after the program ends.

In addition, kids involved in the program were more likely to be seen with a book or to take a book with them as they left for the day and were more prone to have conservations about books or to ask to go to the bookstore more often.

"I think it's an outstanding opportunity for young people to be exposed to the programs that BookTrails offers and be able to walk in the steps of characters from the books they are reading," Knight said.

Tickets for Saturday’s fundraiser, which includes dinner, are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and can be purchased at Off the Beaten Path bookstore.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1