Outdoors

Adventures 101

Screen time to summertime

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Those of us who grew up during an era when “screen time” meant choosing a couple of hours a week of network television to watch with our families didn’t have to be told to back away from our computers and spend more time outdoors when the school year ended. We simply went outside to ride bikes, swim, climb trees and row boats, and didn’t come back indoors until we got hungry.

If you’re looking for ways to distract youth from their devices and exchange screen time for summertime, consider Wild Whatcom’s Summer Adventures programs, which are billed as “big adventure days immersed in exploring the Northwest’s mossy forests, wild rivers, mountain meadows, tumbling waterfalls and pebbled beaches.” Geared to kids from grades 1 to 12 in both Whatcom and Skagit counties, the mentor-facilitated day camps (sometimes including an overnighter) and wilderness explorations (three- to seven-day backpacking trips) take place from June through August, and are open to all kids, regardless of their financial circumstances. “We want any child to be able to participate,” Wild Whatcom’s Lisa Meucci says. “We offer financial assistance up to 75 percent of program costs for qualifying kids.” Info: http://www.wildwhatcom.org

Scholarships are also available for up to 100 percent of the cost of the youth programs at the Community Boating Center’s Summer Camps, which begin in mid-June and continue until mid-August. All the offerings—from an Adventure Camp featuring a sampler including sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding, to Junior Learn to Sail beginners and intermediate camps, to a new Teen Intro to Keelboat—are focused on skill-building, community engagement, confidence building, safety awareness and fun, and are led by certified instructors who have extensive boating and youth leading experience. Water you waiting for? Info: http://www.boatingcenter.org

Bellingham Parks and Recreation’s Adventure Day Camps will also provide multiple ways for kids ages 8 to 13 to disconnect and delight in the splendors of the season. The weeklong camps will feature themes such as “Water and Waves” (which will include everything from sandcastle building at Birch Bay to boating and water games at Lake Samish, to tide-pool exploration at Locust Beach) and “Blades, Boards, and Bikes” (an intro to skateboarding, bike rentals, roller skating, and a visit to the Birch Bay Waterslides are on the itinerary). “Oceans and Streams,” “A Culinary Adventure,” “Fair Play and Fresh Air,” “DIY Adventure,” “Art Adventure,” and “Animals and Outdoors” are among the other options. It’s an enviable lineup that sees kids exploring the far reaches of Whatcom and Skagit counties, and we’re guessing they won’t miss their screen time at all. Info: http://www.cob.org

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