Parks district plans plethora of programs for South End kids

Lima Henry, 11, strings an arrow during the Archery 101 program last fall. The camp has become a hit and already has a waiting list.  - Ben Watanabe / Record file
Lima Henry, 11, strings an arrow during the Archery 101 program last fall. The camp has become a hit and already has a waiting list.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / Record file

Kids and parents looking for activities to stay active have it easy this summer. The major difficulty will be deciding which to make and which to miss.

There’s basketball, baseball, golf and soccer — traditional sports. Then there are the alternative programs like skimboarding, dodgeball, archery (imagine an island full of Katnisses, anyone?), model rockets, sailing, rowing and string lessons for the violin, viola and cello.

“What we decided to do this year was to focus on specialty camps rather than a standard day camp program,” said parks program coordinator Carrie Monforte.

“It was built on what people were interested in.”

Indeed, summer on the South End will be full of frolic. Whether kids want to play using a bow or draw the string of a bow, the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District has scheduled a string of camps, clinics and classes to keep kids entertained and outside. Most of the camps are re-ups from last summer, and those that are new have familiar instructors.

“Each year we have different people come forward that are interested in teaching something they are passionate about,” Monforte said.

“We have really quality instructors, people who really know what they’re talking about and are good leaders.”

The parks district has a range of interests planned for July. Youth golfers can get a start on putting, chipping and driving from Mike Fields, the PGA professional at NAS Whidbey Island Gallery Golf Course, at Clinton’s Island Greens Golf Course. The fee includes the facility, instructions, practice balls, water and a snack for daily hour-long sessions.

Given South Whidbey is harbored to the east, west and south by water (and technically north at some places), rowing could come in handy. And for those more inclined to let weather do the work, sailing classes are also held in July at Lone Lake.

“Sailing was a big, huge hit in the past,” Monforte said.

Model rocket camp, a stalwart of the summer parks programs, returns with Leonard Good teaching kids from 9 to 13 years old (or younger with an adult) to create 20-inch model rockets made from a cardboard tube and equipped with a parachute.

“Leonard Good has been teaching that one much longer than I’ve been with the parks district,” Monforte said.

There’s also a chance to learn to play the violin, viola or cello with Linda Good. This beginning strings camp is open to early string instrumentalists, too, as young as 3 years old.

Dodgeball also gives raging youths, ages 10-13, a chance to dip, dodge, dive and duck at South Whidbey Community Park. It’s set be it rain or shine, so some epic slip-and-slide dodgeball matches may ensue. Other outdoors games like kickball, capture the flag, tug-of-war and ultimate frisbee will be organized, too.

August brings archery. And archery brings focus, aim and the joy of hitting the bullseye. Four sessions have been scheduled; and a fourth was recently added to accommodate a burgeoning demand for bowman skills, especially in the beginners course where there is an eight-person waiting list.

Novice skimboarders will also have the opportunity to learn to rip the tides around Whidbey Island. The class for 7- to 15-year-olds takes the skimmers to Double Bluff Beach, where they’ll learn technique and safety, rain or shine.

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