RANGELY I Whether your elementary school student loves to play in the clay or your middle schooler favors applied math and heights, Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) has something for students of all ages this summer.
College For Kids programs for children ages five and up and Reach Your Peak summer camps for students in sixth through 12th grades begin in June. While the two programs are separate and appeal to different age groups, both offer hands-on learning that organizers hope will spark interest in further exploration, college ambitions or even a future career.
Four open College For Kids programs, including returning favorites like Art Camp and Junior Pilots, and seven CNCC camps offered through Reach Your Peak Colorado, a combined funding effort of the El Pomar Foundation and four Western Slope colleges, will make for a busy June.
“It’s important that the community knows what the college has to offer, and our goal is to show the kids what we do and how it works,” CNCC director of community education Angie Miller said. “Seeing the kids ask after a class, ‘Hey, are we going to do that again next year?’ is one of the best parts about offering these courses.”
Yoga, mad scientist and treasure hunting courses are off the list this year, while popular courses like Kids Climbing may warrant a second session depending on enrollment, Miller said. Most classes have an enrollment cap of 15, with a 10 percent discount offered for enrollment in three or more classes and a 15 percent markdown for all five.
The returning Junior Pilots course Friday, June 12 kicks off this year’s College For Kids events. Students ages six and up will take a tour of the airport, learn how planes work, be introduced to a flight simulator and see aerial demonstrations of large-scale remote control planes. To round out the morning, participants take to the air with instructors in a CNCC student plane and take home a flight certificate, glider and flight pin to remember the experience. Course fees are $15.
This year’s Junior Rangers course Tuesday, June 16 is currently full unless slots open up ($25 enrollment), and it’s no wonder why. Students will be introduced to how bones become fossilized and other paleontology basics before learning more about the cretaceous-era dinosaurs that once roamed this area. They will then participate in helping excavate an actual dinosaur fossil west of the college under the guidance of paleontologists.
“This is a really special opportunity for children interested in dinosaurs or paleontology since most digs have a minimum age limit,” said course instructor Ellis Thompson-Ellis.
Kids Climbing is offered Friday, June 19 for a $10 enrollment fee. Geared to teach fundamentals of rock climbing and boost climbers’ self-esteem and confidence, the course also emphasizes the importance of individual achievements and teamwork. The course is taught by instructor John Whipple and takes place in the CNCC climbing gym.
A Beginner Horse class June 15 for children five and up will introduce kids to safety precautions around horses, as well as how to care for the animals. Students will meet with instructors Dustin Davis and Stacey Bailey at the CNCC stables at Columbine Park to learn the basics and, following instruction, take a ride. Enrollment is $5.
The final College for Kids Course, Art Camp, happens June 17 and 18 under the direction of local artist Julia Davis ($15 course fee). Students will express their secret sides or just have fun as they create a ceramic mask for display. Students will explore colors and paint experimentally with art supplies and found objects.
Working from students’ own questions and offering local source materials for answers, Rangely Museum volunteers Diane Sizemore and Brenda Hopson will work with sixth through ninth graders in the first Reach Your Peak camp, “Local History: What Has Happened Here?” on June 8-10. For $15, students will create a display and learn about the area’s past residents via the art and tools they left behind, what created the local landscape and how these inform current understandings of the region.
Starting June 11, sixth through 10th grade students will learn the ethics and principles of permaculture, a system of planting that sustains itself by imitating nature. The next day, kids will gain hands-on experience by planting a permaculture orchard at the Rangely Community Gardens. For $25, students will help install cover crops, mid-level plants and fruit trees.
“It’s an interesting perspective to learn from nature and try to mimic it,” said Robyn Wilson, a Reach Your Peaks coordinator and the permaculture course instructor. “They’ll see a lot of progress because we’ll try to install the orchard the first day. Then they’ll have time in the subsequent weeks and months to really observe and learn from it.”
Learning geometry concepts in an applied setting is the idea behind a Geometry Challenge class June 15-17. 8th through 10th graders will see fundamental math concepts from new perspectives as the CNCC Challenge Course becomes a hands-on classroom. Course fees are $25.
Ceramics: Creating with Local Clay, taught by local artist Julia Davis, is open to 6th through 10th graders June 22-24 for a $25 course fee. Students will learn about local clay sources and the chemical processes that turn clay ceramic as they create small sculptures and pots. Lessons include how to make clay useable, decorating with mineral paint and firing creations without a kiln.
A four-day equine camp June 15-18 for high school juniors and seniors rounds out this year’s offerings in Rangely. Students will learn about Equine Science career paths while getting hands-on experience with horses. Half-day sessions precede and follow two full-day trainings June 16 and 17. CNCC Equine Studies and Management Program Director Dustin Davis leads the intensive course, which costs $250.
Finally, two courses in Oak Creek, Colo. teach students the importance of farming methods in food production (June 17-18, seventh and eighth grades) and, for students who have already completed an agriculture science prerequisite, the basics of artificial insemination (June 10-11 and 19, 11th and 12th grades). The former has a $50 course fee and will cover population and plant growth, current and alternative farming method and hydroponics (or WindowFarms), while the latter will provide hands-on application of learned skills and include guest speakers in veterinary and animal breeding fields. Costs for this camp are $150, plus $40 in take-home supplies.
For more information or to get signed up for College For Kids classes, contact Miller at 675-3227 or at email@example.com. To register for Reach Your Peak summer camps, contact Caitlan Moore at 675-3205 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration and liability forms will be sent home with students in coming weeks.