Steamboat Springs Registration for the highly coveted Steamboat Springs Summer Day Camp program begins today and officials expect long lines of eager parents.
For $25 a day, parents can have their first- through eighth-grade children taken mountain biking, rock climbing or a variety of other activities through the summer.
At that price, the day camp is one of the most inexpensive child-care options in the valley, said Jennifer Rose, city youth program coordinator.
Last year, droves of parents lined up to get their children in the program; however, some came away empty-handed.
"What dropped everyone's jaw was that the first person was in line at 5:30 a.m.," Rose said.
By 7 a.m., a half-hour before the registration began, the process looked more like a crowd lining up for concert tickets rather than parents signing up for day camp program.
"There are a lot of people who use it because they work five days a week," Rose said. "There were some parents that were disappointed because they couldn't get in."
The most popular age groups are the first- and second-graders and the third- and fourth-graders. Twenty-four slots are open for each of those age groups. Typically, kids get signed up for only certain times in the summer, leaving open slots on various days.
Last year, 80 percent of the slots were filled for the two youngest groups.
The same 24-slot format is being used this year for the two youngest groups, as well as for the fifth- and sixth-graders. Seventh- and eighth-graders have 16 slots open.
Rose said she would have liked to have more slots available for the younger children, but budget constraints were an issue.
"As far as our budget concerns, that's pretty much our max," she said.
The places where children meet each morning, at Olympian Hall for the youngest groups, can't hold more than 24 kids to each group.
There are similar day camps in town parents have the option of putting their child into. Rose said the city would help place children in those programs if they can't get into the city's day camp.
Though the youngest groups fill up fast, last year the seventh- and eighth-grade turnout was low, with only 10 percent of the slots filled.
Rose said that program was reconstructed to have more intensive activities, including three two-week sessions that cover mountain biking, kayaking and rock climbing.
Each session ends with a camping trip.
Sign up for all the programs begin at 7:30 a.m. today at the Parks, Open Spaces and Recreation Office, next to the ice arena on River Road.