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Popular winter break programs return
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Dec 23, 2013 | 1030 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Elise Gustavson gets under the volleyball for a pass during the ‘Dig It’ teen volleyball camp this summer. The camp, which is one of several winter activities and programs developed by Sparks Parks and Rec., will hold its winter break session beginning Jan. 6.
Elise Gustavson gets under the volleyball for a pass during the ‘Dig It’ teen volleyball camp this summer. The camp, which is one of several winter activities and programs developed by Sparks Parks and Rec., will hold its winter break session beginning Jan. 6.
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Sparks-area students will be resting their brains for a few weeks as the first half of the school year came to a close Friday, but the City of Sparks Parks and Recreation department has plenty of programs and activities to keep children and teens busy throughout winter break.

One of the most popular winter break programs is the Dig It Girls Volleyball Mini Camp for girls in third through eighth grade. Aimed at helping young girls improve their skills prior to entering high school tryouts, the four-day camp works from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. from Jan. 6 through Jan. 9 at the Alf Sorensen Community Center. Registration is $43 for residents and $52 for all others.

“This is a very popular program and it is fun for the girls to not only learn the mechanics of volleyball, but it is a great way to make friends and enjoy the camaraderie of the game,” said Andre’ Stigall, recreation supervisor for City of Sparks. “Denae (Kerns, camp instructor) does an excellent job and really keeps things high energy. She is great with the kids and it makes for a fun experience.”

Children in Kindergarten through sixth grade can also mix things up with Parks and Rec.’s Christmas Capers program, which offers a range of field trips, sports, crafts, games and more. The program allows for drop-in daily sessions and registration for a whole week as the program runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. this week and the weeks beginning Dec. 30 and Jan. 6 at the recreation gym on Richards Way. Weeks one and two cost $96 for residents ($115 for non-residents) and week three costs $120 for residents ($144 for non-residents).

“Capers is a longstanding program with Parks and Rec., “ Stigall said Monday. “It’s very flexible and it has such a great lineup of fun activities for the kids. We have a lot of returning children each year and they are always excited to come back when winter break comes around.”

Finally, children can learn and improve self esteem and confidence through the Kids Empowering Kids program on Tuesdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Alf Sorensen. The program focuses on building social and emotional skills for children in first through fourth grades and is run by Sepulveda Elementary School counselor Meg Bertolino.

Bertolino said in an interview earlier this year that allowing children the chance to interact with one another in a more intimate setting than the classroom can help them blossom as individuals.

“I think it is important to have the kids interact together and hear the ideas of other kids,” Bertolino said, “Because then they are kind of getting other thought processes and there is a lot of role playing that we do, too, so it is kind of fun to have more than one child.”

Section one of the program begins Jan. 7 and runs through Jan. 28. Section two runs from Feb. 4 through Feb. 25 and both sessions cost $75 for residents and $90 for all others.

Teenagers have the opportunity to learn useful skills through an American Red Cross program during winter break. Lifeguard training for people age 15 and older will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Jan. 6-9 at Alf Sorensen Community Center. The class gives certification in Lifeguard First Aid and CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer. A swim performance test must be passed prior to enrolling in the class and it costs $150 for residents and $180 for non-residents.

Sparks Parks and Rec. also has fitness-based classes offering multiple sessions and multi-day options, including adult swim lessons, Aquacise, adapted aquatics, Zumba and Deep Freeze adult softball. Fitness programs designed for seniors are available as well.

Registration prices and available dates vary by program and financial assistance is available for children, seniors and people with disabilities. For more information about the Parks and Rec. programs call 353-2376 or visit cityofsparks.us. The Alf Sorensen Community Center is located at 1400 Baring Boulevard next to Reed High School and can be reached at 353-2385.
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