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Schriever offers summer options for youth

(Courtesy graphic)

(Courtesy graphic)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Families looking for structured programming for youth age 5-18 will have options available at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, this summer.

While the School Age Program, for youth age 5-12 who have completed kindergarten, continues to offer weekly options for younger children, a new two-week camp will give parents of older children, age 10-18, a choice as well.

"We want to get people geared up and say, 'there is programming available for your child and at your convenience,'" said Mary Barkley, 50th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Services flight chief.

The summer camp will be held June 20 - July 1, and the SAP summer program runs May 31 - August 12.

"The most fun thing about the summer is the staff is really excited about all the different areas we're going to explore, and that's going to trickle down to the kids," said Vicki Rygiel, SAP coordinator. "It will be a very enriching summer."

While the SAP summer program will continue some of its popular activities from years past, including a production brought in by the Missoula Children's Theatre company and weekly swimming at the Tierra Vista pool, some exciting new activities will be added as well.

"We have a certified archery/range master on staff and we'll be using the Schriever range for archery," Rygiel said. "Our academic focus points will be integrated through field trips, guest speakers and activities. For example, when we do our theme on weather, we'll have a (local TV station) meteorologist come in and speak."

Now in her third year as coordinator, Rygiel said she's finding ways to enhance the program curriculum so it integrates learning with youth interests. Additionally, she hired a few certified teachers as part of the summer staff who can incorporate their specialties into the curriculum as well.

"Integration is a big part of the summer program now," she said. "We're looking at more (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) things and how it's integrated into different aspects of life. If we do something with math, we can integrate cooking - using math for measurements, writing recipes, etc."

SAP participants will have an opportunity to participate in 4-H and Boys and Girls Club activities as well.

Due to space availability, the summer camp for older youth will be held at Ellicott schools. Details are still being finalized, but the camp will offer STEM options, as well as nature, creative arts and sports as part of the program.

"Ellicott is perfectly willing to have us utilize their facility," Barkley said. "This is a great opportunity to work with Ellicott and offer something for these kids."

Transportation will be provided from Schriever to Ellicott, with pick-up/drop-off points on base likely to be at the Child Development Center and Tierra Vista Community Center.

The summer camp will also serve as a way for FSS to gauge potential utilization of a proposed youth center.

"We know there are plans to get a youth center and that (process) takes a few years," Barkley said. "As an interim phase, we want to offer programming for youth that can be ongoing until the time that we actually get the center."

Based on demand and feedback from this year's camp, Barkley said FSS could potentially offer a longer camp next summer.

"If this takes off, this could be something that we offer for more extended time next summer," she said. "The idea is to get the teens, really focus in on those teens who don't have (a facility), because the SAP can take kids up to 12 years."

The fees for both programs are based on total family income and will include meals. There will be an additional cost for field trips, covering admission and transportation, though Barkley said both programs will look for as many free and low-cost destinations as possible to keep costs at a minimum.

Parents may register children for either program on a week-by-week basis, provided space is available, and registration is on a first come, first served basis.

Ellicott will provide some staffing for the summer camp, but Barkley said FSS is looking for volunteers to supplement as well. The SAP program is also planning a weekly career development session and is in need of volunteers to speak to youth about different career fields.

"If anyone wants to volunteer, if they have expertise in any of (the program) areas, we would welcome that," Barkley said.

Registration for both programs is now open. Packets for the SAP summer program are available at the front desk of the Child Development Center. Those interested in registering for the summer camp for older youth should contact Barkley at 567-5464 or Thea Wasche at 567-3445.
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