Variety of programs offered for youth

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— The snow may have melted and the ski lifts are long since closed, but a wealth of recreational and educational activities for local and visiting children are offered throughout the summer in the Steamboat Springs area.

Be it an all-day camp or a two-hour jaunt on a trail, numerous programs cater to children.

The wildly popular summer recreation camps offered through Steamboat's Parks and Recreation Department fill up quickly, but because the camp programs are offered on a day-by-day basis, parents can often find daily openings throughout the summer.

Parks and Recreation Department camps are set up according to age. This year's three camps are Incredible Steamboat Sneakers for children entering first and second grades; Steamboat Explorers Camp for children entering third and fourth grades; and Rocky Mountain Adventure Club for children entering fifth and sixth grades.

There are 24 slots open each day for each group. Registration began May 8, so openings will be limited. Camps begin June 9 and end Aug. 22. Each camp day begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m.

Daily costs for the two younger-age-group camps are $26. Rocky Mountain Adventure Club costs $23 each day.

Activities offered through the daily camps run the gamut of recreational opportunities. Children can go horseback riding, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, swimming and hiking, in addition to numerous other activities offered through the camps.

"We have a great group of activities," Steamboat youth program coordinator Jennifer Travis said. "If it's safe, fun and kids like it, we're doing it. Most parents would agree that for $26 a day it's a pretty good value. (Kids) are safe and occupied all day long and they have stories to tell at the dinner table, which is always a good thing."

For more information on Parks and Recreation Department summer programs, call 879-4300.

Yampatika, a nonprofit environmental education organization dedicated to teaching about the natural and cultural resources of Northwest Colorado, also has a number of summer youth programs.

Yampatika's youth-based programs are divided into age groups. The Wee Naturalists program, for 3- to 5-year olds, meets at 10 a.m. Tuesdays at The Depot beginning June 17. The program, like other youth-based Yampatika programs, focuses on interactive, hands-on nature education. Costs are $12 for non-members and $10 for members.

The Summer Sprouts program, designed for children aged 6 to 8 years old, meets at 2 p.m. Tuesdays, also beginning June 17. The two-hour program begins at the Botanic Park.

The Young Naturalists program, for 10- to 14-year-olds, is a weeklong "educational extravaganza," according to Yampatika Executive Director Deb Fuller. The $150 course runs Monday through Friday, but only two courses are offered during the summer.

In addition, Yampatika offers field seminars throughout the summer. Topics explored by the seminars include wild mushrooms and animal tracking, among others. Many of the seminars are family-oriented, Fuller said.

Registration is required for all Yampatika summer programs. Call 871-9151. Prices vary depending on the program.

Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp offers a number of camp programs throughout the summer. The week-long Discovery Camp, for children 8 to 11 years old, introduces children to theater, dance, music, creative writing and fine arts. Children participate in daily camp activities such as horseback riding and hiking.

The more demanding Junior/Intermediate program enables rising fifth- through ninth-graders to explore their talents in the performing arts, according to Perry-Mansfield's Web site.

An advanced performing camp for high school and college students is also offered. In addition, Perry-Mansfield offers equestrian camps for a variety of age groups. For more information, including camp sessions and costs,

call 879-7125.

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