By Wendy McMillan
Summer is just around the corner, and families everywhere are anticipating sun, sand…and maybe a fair amount of stress. Demand for summer camps is skyrocketing, and navigating registrations may well feel as anxious as early enrollment period for college. No sooner do we herald spring then coveted camp spots seem to fill, with wait-lists a mile long. If you find, like many, that those summer spots you had your eye on are already taken, don’t despair. Longmont offers many enriching and enlivening opportunities for kids throughout the summer months on a drop-in and late registration basis. You just need to know where to look. Here are a few of our favorite places to start.
Vibrant, bustling day camp at the Longmont YMCA is reputed to fill up fast, but don’t discount this local gem. Facilitated sun and fun-filled days welcome younger children (up to entering 6th grade) all summer long, even on a more or less last minute basis. “All our camp staff really understand the stress for working parents whose kids need somewhere safe and enjoyable to go,” says Andra Coberly-Webster, Executive Director of Communications at YMCA of Northern Colorado. “Of course we need to follow staffing ratio guidelines, but as long as we have the capacity to offer opportunities for families we will do all we can to support them.”
Demand for YMCA day camps was so high, a second location was opened at the United Church of Christ located on the west side of 9th street. This quieter location enjoys smaller groups, plus all of the fun featured at the main center. “Kids attending the UCC location can get bussed to the Y for swimming, play on our new turf, field trips, and all the same opportunities,” Coberly-Webster says.
With the addition of the second site, YMCA camps can potentially offer spots as late as the week prior, although Coberly-Webster recommends signing up as soon as possible. Kids can enroll for a week at a time or longer stretches.
For older children, specialized programs such as the YMCA Camp Santa Maria’s Outdoor Adventure Camps for ages 11 to 14, and Teen Expedition Camps for ages 14 to 17 still have openings. These are perfect camps for young people who love nature and who want to expand their outdoor skills and knowledge, Coberly Webster says. Best of all, they get to do so while having a really good time in a fun, supportive community.
In addition to camps, the YMCA offers an abundance of summer fun in the form of swim lessons, summer ice skating with the Learn to Skate program at the Ice Rink in Lafayette, youth sports, and more. Find the right fits for your family at ymcanoco.org and select your categories of interest.
Longmont Public Library
From Tween Club to storytimes, Longmont Public Library hosts a plethora of activities where kids can connect, share, sharpen minds, and flourish creatively. Generously funded by the Friends of the Longmont Library, Longmont Public thoughtfully facilitates regular clubs and activities as well as special events year-round. Summer is especially vivid for kids, starting with a splash at the annual Summer Reading Program Kickoff Party at Sunset Pool, this year scheduled for May 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Included among the many other activities are various opportunities for tweens and teens to thrive in their own space.
At Tween Club, an inclusive environment invites 3rd to 6th graders to share in games, crafts, and fun challenges and activities. For the summer months, the popular club changes and expands its hours from 4 to 5 p.m. to 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays. “I love Tween Club because it’s artsy, and they do fun things,” says Sebastian Martin, a regular attendee of the drop-in group.
Sixth to 12th grade gamers are invited to compete, cooperate, and collaborate on the library’s own Nintendo Switch every Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m., no registration necessary. The library’s newly renovated teens-only space welcomes all levels of gamers and features a selection of games for four to eight players.
In addition to these regular meetups, the library hosts something for everyone—storytimes; author visits; Arts, Music, and Movement for Tweens; and more. Programs for children under age 9 need to be accompanied by an adult caregiver. Adults are not permitted at Teen programs.
“Summer is all about fun and discovering at the library,” says Claire Studholme, Children’s and Teens’ Librarian Manager. “We love to welcome a diverse array of performers and programs in June and July, keeping Longmont youth engaged, learning, and connecting.”
Be sure to check out the library calendar at longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-e-m/library/calendar-library regularly to see what’s coming up!
Happy Day Plants
It goes without saying, happenings at Happy Day Plants are the kind that inspire joy and growth. Located on Main Street in Downtown Longmont, the shop aims to provide quality houseplants, educate plant owners, and serve as a community gathering space.
During the school year, Happy Day Plants hosts drop-in Fridays, when community members are invited to stop in and complete weekly, pre-selected projects with no reservations needed. For the summer months, in addition to continuing regular Saturday workshops and events for the whole family, Happy Day is offering monthly two-day summer workshops for kids, recommended ages 7 to 12. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., parents can run errands or take a coffee break while kids grow through connection with nature and each other.
The growth that takes place through special programs and everyday liveliness isn’t just striking when it comes to the kids, nor even the flora. Owner Jessica Birmingham is passionate about making her plant shop an opportunity for adults with disabilities to engage in meaningful work in a caring and supportive environment. “We are at eight employees now,” Birmingham says. “What I love most about our plant shop is watching everyone grow. The growth that happens here is so cool, and so meaningful. In growing plants, we’re really all about growing community.”
Keep updated on all of Happy Day Plants offerings: subscribe to the free newsletter at happydayplants.com.
Add exploring your own back yard to your summer plans. Use your adult resident library card to check out a Discovery Pass and explore art galleries, museums and attractions for free or discounted admission! Places to discover include:
- Butterfly Pavilion
- The Clyfford Still Museum
- Denver Botanic Gardens
- Denver Firefighters Museum
- Denver Museum of Nature and Science
- Dinosaur Ridge National Natural Landmark
- Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
- The Longmont Museum
- Molly Brown House Museum
- Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
- WOW! Children’s Museum
Reserve your pass today before they sell out to your favorite place! Visit bit.ly/LibDiscovery or visit the Librarians at the desk on the second floor.