Tahoe youths look for summer memories | SierraSun.com

Tahoe youths look for summer memories

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun

For kids, summer is synonymous with no school. For moms and dads, no school means full-time parenting.

The Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe offers a win-win solution for families across the North Shore.

Their Totally Tahoe Day Camp, open through Aug. 24, offers children from first grade through their senior year in high school a range of art projects, crazy games, songs, skits, beach time and field trips. The day camp meets from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.

“The Boys and Girls Club camp is just a wonderful opportunity that families can take advantage of,” said Executive Director Isabelle Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said that the camp, in its 10th year, embodies everything the youth club stands for, that is, to “inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to become caring and responsible and productive citizens.

“Our goal is to connect with a child so they have a meaningful experience,” Rodriguez said.

The program is divided into three camps: A day camp, a sports camp and a teen camp. The day camp and the sports camp follow a similar schedule, with a different theme or field trip each week, but the teen camp operates on a different concept, with field trips to Chimney Beach, mini golf, paint ball, kayaking, and two overnight trips to sister clubs in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

“Because our teen program has been so responsive, we have twice as many field trips,” Rodriguez said. “There are more options for teenagers.”

In years past, the club has charged teenagers. But Rodriguez said she realized that as youths grow older, their parents expect more financial responsibility. As a result, some teenagers stopped attending the camp.

This summer, in hopes of attracting more youth, Rodriguez dropped the fee for teenagers to visit the club, she said. The club only charges a fee, ranging from $5 to $25, for field trips.

The youth center will also sponsor two sessions for a technology camp offering the club’s signature lego-robotics, mathematics and engineering technology program.

The children will learn how to use a computer to program a robot, and then ask the robot to do a series of exercises by computer command, Rodriguez said.

Since the loss of its recreation programming on the North Shore, the North Tahoe Public Utility District provides the club with a significant subsidy each year, said district Executive Assistant Pam LeFrancois. That was what the board of directors did to help offset the absence of a recreation component, she said.

“It’s a good cause,” LeFrancois said. “It gives the kids something to do in the summer, some structured activities, some opportunities that they would not otherwise be able to do.”

Rodriguez said she expects upwards of 100 kids to attend the club’s camps per day, with the campers coming from Kings Beach, Truckee, Incline, the West Shore and from families spending their vacation at Lake Tahoe.

“The community gives to the club, so the kids have a place to go,” Rodriguez said.