Summer Camps

Opportunities abound for local kids this summer

Schoolhouse doors will soon swing open for the last time, sending kids valley-wide tumbling into the glorious, endless world of summer. For many, along with freedom from homework it means perfecting a skill, exploring a new hobby or just spending time with friends. Whatever the aim, there are dozens of summer camps in and around Hood River during the next three months that focus on everything from music and theatre to basketball and juggling — and just about everything in between.

Hood River County School District’s Community Education is the source of nearly two dozen different camps throughout the summer aimed at preschool kids to high school seniors. To register, call Community Ed at 386-2055.

* Mountain Valley Basketball Camp, June 17-20 for kids in grades 3-12. Work with high school coaches on basketball skills and game situations. Cost: $40.

* Summer Art Camps. Choose from nine different week-long camps starting June 17-21. Spend a week experimenting with various multi-media art forms under the guidance of a professional artist. Cost: $40.

* Bravissimo! Columbia Gorge Music and Arts Camp, June 17-21 for kids in grades 6-9. Spend a week studying and making music with instrumental and choral teachers from around the region. Cost: $75.

* Mural Painting Camp, June 24-28 for kids age 8-12. Professional mural artist Janet Essley will guide children through a team process for creating a 4-by-8 foot artistic mural that will go on permanent display in Hood River. Cost: $55.

* Science Camp, June 24-28 for kids age 9-12. This week of science fun includes chemistry, engineering and biology — even rocketry. Cost: $75.

* Around the World Camp, June 24-28 or Aug. 12-16 for kids in grades K-3. Journey to 10 different countries through crafts, food, language and culture. Cost: $40.

* Musical Theater Camp, July 8-19 (cost: $250) or July 29-Aug. 9 (cost: $70) for kids age 6-16. Choose from two different camps focusing on drama and musical theater. Both camps conclude with a performance. Contact Community Ed for details.

* Computer Camp — Publishing, July 8, 10 and 12 or July 22, 24 and 26 for kids in grades K-5. Children will learn to make their own stationery, posters and more. Cost: $30.

* Computer Camp — Internet, July 15, 17 and 19 or July 29, 31 and Aug. 2 for kids in grades 3-5. Kids will surf the Internet and learn to search for any topic imaginable. Safety will be stressed. Cost: $30.

* Summer Dance Camp, July 15-18 for kids age 5-10. Children will be exposed to ballet, jazz, folk and modern dance

styles; great camp for beginning dancers. Cost: $25.

* Arts and Crafts Camp, July 15-18, July 22-25, July 29-Aug. 1 or Aug. 19-22 for kids age 6-12. Kids who love crafts will enjoy creating projects with yarn, clay, beads and paper. Cost: $25.

* Camp Clay Animation, July 29-Aug. 2 for kids in grades 4-8. Kids get to make an animated video using clay characters that you create — just like the dancing raisins on TV! Cost: $50.

* History Mystery Camp, July 29-Aug. 2 for kids in grades 5-7. Kids will discover history in this fun week held at the Hood River County Museum. Includes activities, stories, arts and crafts, games and a field trip. Cost: $45.

* Sculpture Camp, Aug. 5, 6, 7 and 12 for kids in grades 3-6. Spend a few days creating with clay. There are no limits on imagination in this camp. Cost: $30.

* Writing Camp, Aug. 5-9 for kids in grades 3-6. Kids get to write their own autobiography and learn to trace family names through genealogy research on the Internet. Cost: $30.

* Clowning Camp, Aug. 12-15 for kids in grades 3-7. Kids will develop their own clown character, as well as learning tricks and mime techniques. Cost: $35.

* Juggling Camp, Aug. 5, 7 and 9 for kids in grades 3-8. You are guaranteed to learn how to three-ball juggle in this camp. Includes a set of juggling balls. Cost: $18.

* Pre-School Summer Day Camp, July 29-Aug. 2 for kids age 3-5. The ultimate summer experience for pre-schoolers. Outdoor and indoor fun plus fun field trips. Includes a full trained staff and bus transportation. Cost: $55.

* Gorge Adventures is new to Hood River this year, and offers single day through week-long kids day camps as well as family camps. Gorge Adventures camps focus on outdoor education, recreational activities, team building and leadership and are aimed at kids age 7-13.

All camp days begin at Jackson Park with group games and team building activities. Then camp leaders take kids on a recreational trip — including rock climbing, windsurfing, rafting and hiking. Lunch is provided and the day ends back at Jackson Park with games and crafts.

Camps begin June 8 and continue through the end of August. Call 971-219-2259 or go to for information and registration.

* Hood River WaterPlay offers windsurfing, kayaking and kiteboarding camps for kids. Programs are for kids of all abilities. The camp provides all needed equipment, including helmets and life jackets. Instructors are trained in CPR and First Aid. Daily programs are available, as well as four-day and 20-day camps and full summer memberships beginning June 17. Call 386-9463 or e-mail for information.

* Kids Creations Art Camp (formerly called Columbia Gorge Creations) opens its fourth season of summer day camps aimed at kids age 5-10. The focus is providing an open, fun environment for kids to explore artistic expression. The camp runs daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 17-Aug. 19. Call 386-2373 or go to for information.

* Discovery Day Camp is an educational camp held at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles. The week-long camps, aimed at kids in grades K-5, focus on the natural and cultural history of the Columbia River Gorge with activities ranging from observing wildlife and making crafts to hiking. Camps begin June 17. For information and registration call Steve Rice at 541-296-8600 ext. 206.

* SECRETS of Learning Institute Science Camp is a day camp focusing on science for kids in grades 4-7. The two-week camps, which begin in June, highlight ecology, team building activities and introduce kids to service learning. For information and registration call 387-2274 or e-mail

* Columbia Gorge School of Theatre offers camps ranging from one week to seven weeks at the Blue Moon Ranch near White Salmon, Wash. Campers study acting, music, singing and dance and act in a show. For information and registration call 800-405-3450 or go to

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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