Town of Oak Creek recognized for outdoor education | SteamboatToday.com

Town of Oak Creek recognized for outdoor education

South Routt Elementary School students participate in a snowshoe hike at Stagecoach State Park.

— The town of Oak Creek has received some well-deserved recognition for its commitment to getting kids outdoors.

During an awards ceremony Thursday in Breckenridge, the town was recognized as Colorado Parks and Wildlife's 2016 Northwest Region Partner of the Year.

"It's been a very awesome collaborative relationship, and it extends farther than the town of Oak Creek," town administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen said.

Stagecoach State Park staff members Craig Preston and Cory Spakes nominated the town for the award.

"The town of Oak Creek specifically has stepped in to foster youth experiencing outdoor recreation," Spakes said.

Last school year, the South Routt School District transitioned to four days of school per week.

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To fill the void Fridays, the town's parks and recreation department — headed by Johanna Farley — created a Friday day camp, during which many of the town’s children were taken to Stagecoach for educational activities including fishing, survival skills, boating safety, archery and water safety.

Most park fees were waived for the program.

The leave no trace message was taught, and kids picked up litter in the park, promoting stewardship for future generations.

During the 2016 summer day camp program, 62 children age 5 to 12 accounted for 1,245 participant days during a 12-week period. That represents a 50 percent participation increase compared to the previous summer.

"If not for the town of Oak Creek and the support they receive from area partners, these programs would not be possible," park staff wrote in their nomination. "Without these programs, many of these kids would spend their summers indoors playing video games or wandering the streets around town getting in trouble."

The town's full-day summer camp program costs $25 per day, but the town's parks and recreation department offers scholarships for needy families who want to participate in the programs.

The camp begins June 5 with two weeks of swim lessons.

For more information, visit townofoakcreek.com.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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