Kids’ Perspective is typically penned by, perhaps unsurprisingly, a kid — but we decided to mix it up for this quarter’s column and share a small sampling of summer program options (there are way too many to list!) that are sure to give your kids a new perspective. 

We live in a place where opportunities for adventure abound, but since many folks work during the week, it isn’t always feasible to get the kiddos out and about. Here, you’ll find a collection of some of the unique summer offerings to be found in the area, enriching children’s lives, creating new experiences and memories, and making for some happy campers.

Camp Donner Summit

Nonprofit Gateway Mountain Center has served over 20,000 youths in its 14-year existence, and the organization isn’t done. Camp Donner Summit comprises three separate options: adventure, climbing, and mountain biking. Although adventure camp is sold out, climbing and mountain biking camps still have openings. GMC’s programs offer “unparalleled, all-terrain adventures and a wide array of peak experiences with some of the Sierra’s top guides, naturalists, and educators.” Campers are grouped by age and there’s even a sleepaway option. Each camp goes beyond just its namesake, offering varied outdoor experiences, and all groups (with the exception of the littlest ones) have the chance to go whitewater rafting. GMC offers a discount of $50 per participant for local Tahoe/Truckee youths enrolled in TTUSD, Creekside Charter, Forest Charter, or Golden Valley Waldorf School. Three sessions available: July 12 to 16, July 19 to 23, and July 26 to 30. Find full details online at sierraexperience.org.

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Circus Camp

Keep your kids from clowning around all summer and send them off to Summer Circus Camp at Tahoe Flow Arts and Fitness. This week-long program immerses your child in the many flow arts including (but not limited to) aerial fabrics, hula hoop, dance, and acrobatics. Learning these skills is meant to instill creativity, self-expression, and focus. There are two sessions available, July 26 to 30 and Aug. 2 to 6, each from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. The camp is open to kids ages 8 through 13 and runs $450 per week. Find details at tahoeflow.com.

Kids Art Camp

North Tahoe Arts is planning an outdoor setup with plenty of room to explore and create for Kids Art Camp, an art-focused option for ages 5 to 12. A plethora of projects are planned this summer with a focus on visual, tactile, natural, recycled, and fine art materials. Choose from morning or afternoon sessions July 5
to 9; only morning sessions remain July 12 to 16. Cost is $150 for NTA members, $180 for nonmembers. Scholarships are available. Register at northtahoearts.com.

Summer Research Camps

BUDDING SCIENTISTS: Headwaters Science Institute’s camps introduce participants to the world of STEM and expose them to the wonders of nature. Courtesy photo

Nurture a love of nature while exposing children to the world around them with Headwaters Science Institute’s online summer programs. Summer Research Experience allows students to do research in a location of their choice near their home. The same program as Summer Research Experience, Girls Experience introduces girls to the world of STEM, and there’s even an option to add on a week of camping at Webber Lake. 

“At this camp, I learned how science is everywhere, even when you don’t suspect it,” said 2019 camper Ashley Alarcon. “I also learned how important it is to increase the number of women in the science fields and the impact that women have in science. This camp has really opened my eyes to the science fields and has helped me realize that science can play a big role in selecting my career.” Find more information at headwaterscienceinstitute.org.

Youth Skateboarding Camp

Incline Village Parks & Rec is now offering Summer Youth Skateboarding Camps. Led by Village Skate School directors Cedar Gateley and Clayton Green, campers can partake in any of three skateboarding sessions this season. Held at the Incline Village skate park, these camps are open to skaters of all abilities from ages 6 to 14. Fee is $250; $200 with IVGID pass. Full details online at yourtahoeplace.com.

COME OUT AND PLAY: Little shredders can rip it up and hone their skate skills at skateboarding camps in Incline Village and at Woodward Tahoe. Photo by Wade Snider/Moonshine Ink

Up on Donner Summit, Woodward Tahoe also offers skater kids the opportunity to hone their skills, as well as camps for BMX, mountain biking, parkour, and scooter. Check out rideboreal.com for dates and pricing.

With nature right outside your doorstep, living in the Truckee/Tahoe region, and with so many outdoors-based businesses and organizations, the summer program opportunities for youngsters are endless, and we certainly couldn’t cover them all here. Tahoe Donner has everything from horsemanship to watersports. Great Basin Naturalists at Galena Creek Visitor Center provides outdoor experiences emphasizing environmental science and physical activity and creativity, while promoting STEM education and environmental stewardship. Tahoe Institute for Natural Science and the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center have programs that introduce kids of all ages to science and the natural world around them. The possibilities are endless! 

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