.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Bear Camp registration draws 3 a.m. crowd

-A A +A
By Carol A. Clark

Determined parents, some equipped with lawn chairs, braved the 3 a.m. darkness and cold air Friday to secure their children’s place in this summer’s Bear Camp. There are just 75 slots available in the 11-week program, open to youth entering K-6th grades in the fall.“I came in (to the Aquatic Center) at 5:30 a.m. and I’d say at least 40 people were outside; a lot had their lawn chairs and I heard some people had been out there since 3 a.m.,” said Customer Service Supervisor Anna Galvan.Because of the cold, parents were let into the building ahead of schedule and given hot coffee and donuts. They received a number by place in line, Galvan said, adding that application processing didn’t begin until 7 a.m.,  as advertised.“We started entering everybody into the computer system at 7 a.m. and by 11:30 a.m. the camp was full,” she said.There were comments of concern expressed by some parents that some camp staff lived off the Hill, yet their children filled slots that perhaps should have gone to children living in Los Alamos County, Galvan said. “It’s something we did discuss,” she said. “Currently, the program is open to the children of anyone who lives or works in Los Alamos County. This is something we’ll take a look at for next year. We try to improve the program every year. Last year, we let in more kids but it just didn’t work because there’s not enough room.”Two Bear Camps could run simultaneously, she said, if another building could be found. A program also is under consideration for middle-school-age children to include nature trips. “The camp has just become so popular and I wish we had the room to have more kids but we’re so limited with space,” Galvan said. “I think one of the reasons for the popularity is that it’s one of the more reasonably priced programs of this kind.”Parents with a child enrolled in the five-day-a-week plan pay $98 weekly for their first child and $90 for each additional child in the family, Galvan said. Parents choosing the four-day a week plan are charged $90 for one child and $82 for each additional child. Bear Camp is held 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., weekdays between May 27-Aug. 8 at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink. The camp’s mission is to “provide participants with a safe, quality experience, which awakens new interests, promotes new skills, creates cultural awareness, and forges new friendships.” Children participate in crafts, games, hiking and field trips. For an additional fee, they can take swimming and golf lessons, Galvan said. Bear Camp staff members are certified in First Aid and CPR, and have completed background checks.For information, contact Bear Camp Coordinator Krystal Zellner at 662-4500 or the Recreation Division Office at 662-8173.