Camp Explore 2013 scores big with Tahoe families |

Camp Explore 2013 scores big with Tahoe families

John Iannucci
Special to the Bonanza

Tahoe Family Solutions for the third year in a row fostered a winning program at Camp Explore.

In 2013, Camp Explore ran two sessions from July 8 to Aug. 2 and registered 60 campers per session. Camp Explore provided a unique blend of outdoor education, physical activity, positive social interaction and some good old-fashioned fun.

"Magaly loved the camp! She explored new things and enjoyed all the activities especially paddle boarding and horseback riding, she can't wait until next year," said Ludi Salazar, parent of camper Magaly Salazar. "Thanks for doing this for all of our kids."

Camp Explore emphasizes small group dynamics and the positive relationship between a counselor and eight kids. When camp wound down with a final picnic, we saw tears in both the kids and the counselors, the promises to keep in touch and the shouts of "see you next year," and this lets you know that something special happened.

At Camp Explore, the groups hike every day and our kids covered more than 30 miles while with their group. We know that may not sound like a lot to an adult veteran hiker, but for your average first- and second-grader used to TV, video games and movies, it is quite an accomplishment.

Plus, a hike at Camp Explore is more than a march from point A to point B — it is an opportunity to smell the bark on a Jeffery pine (vanilla), to hear the wind rustle through aspen trees and to spot a water snake at Spooner Lake, (no picking up any wildlife).

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Our dedicated camp staff did a great job this year under the leadership of Camp Director Sharon Silva, but they were plenty tired at the end of four weeks. We haven't told them yet that if resources are available, TFS will push for a six-week effort next year. It will mean a lot to parents who struggle to find affordable care for their kids in the summer months.

To see young people develop both emotionally and physically over the summer is very rewarding and providing the memories and friendships that will last a lifetime is priceless.

John Iannucci is board chair for Tahoe family Solutions.