Water sports, performing arts, and outdoor activities – it must be time for the summer workshops

The Lopez Island Family Resource Center’s summer workshops just keep getting better.

The Lopez Island Family Resource Center’s summer workshops just keep getting better.

Both kids and adults have the opportunity to delve into pretty much any topic under the sun. This year, there are 68 classes being offered in such areas as sailing, kayaking, seafaring adventures, golf, soccer, mountain biking, basketball, tennis, filmmaking, photography, music, nature exploration, science, theater, and a myriad of creative art and jewelry projects.

“I can’t believe the variety of choices!” said Randy Kelts, who will be participating in the workshops. “Even on the mainland, it is hard to find such a variety through one organization, yet alone on a small island.”

“Every year we try to spice up the program with some new offerings, while also making sure we keep the popular programs like the sports and boating camps going,” said Patsy Haber, Program Coordinator for the Resource Center. Some of this year’s new courses include a puppeteer class (with founders of Carter Family Marionettes), a week of music camps for ages ranging from 4 to 18, digital photography, advanced filmmaking, garage band, creative design and energy, and creative art classes in collage, jewelry, vessels, and t-shirts.

Missoula Children’s Theatre is back again this year, casting young actors to perform in “Rumpelstiltskin.” They will also offer classes in creative dramatics, improvisation, and stage make-up.

Adults can partake in the summer workshops as well, with courses in kayaking, sailing, tennis, golf, jewelry-making, art projects, photography, and film-making.

Most of the summer workshops are taught by community members, but several will be led by off-island teachers, including professors from Rice University and Western Washington University, professional musicians, and sports programs from British Challenger Soccer and Skyhawks Basketball.

Lopez Island Family Resource Center (LIFRC) Executive Director Celia Marquis is particularly enthusiastic about the “Seafaring, Voyaging, and Camping” trip in July and August. Program leaders will take kids on a rowing and sailing adventure to several marine parks in the San Juans aboard two expedition boats, spending five days on the water and four nights on the beach.

“It was a life changing experience for my child. They found a part of themselves on this trip. The instructors were amazing role models and it was reasonably priced,” commented a parent from last year’s high school trip. This was an extremely popular class last year, and it is now available to both middle and high schoolers.

Marquis started the summer workshops 15 years ago as a sailing program, and she’s been at the helm as it has evolved and grown. “The workshops give kids the opportunity to do healthy activities in the summer months. It keeps them engaged and builds confidence,” said Marquis. Quite a few kids from off-island also participate, which Haber and Marquis say is a great way for island children to meet new friends.

The Resource Center is committed to ensuring that all children, regardless of financial or logistical factors, can attend a workshop. Class fees are kept low, and scholarships and financial aid are available, “made possible by the generosity of local churches, organizations, and United Way,” said Marquis. Staff and volunteers are also on-hand to help families fill out registration forms and assist when logostics are difficult.

LIFRC relies on volunteers for support, especially an “incredible sailing committee who maintain the boats year-round and keep the program alive,” said Marquis. The organization is always in need of additional help; anyone interested can call 468-4117.

The deadline to register for the summer workshops is June 16, but classes have maximimum capacities, so interested participants are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. Brochures were mailed to all P.O. Boxes and prior participants in April, and they are also at the Lopez Library, Lopez Family Resource Center, and the Lopez Chamber. The full brochure is available online at www.lifrc.org.

The Resource Center is debuting a new major fundraiser on July 12: a duck race. “Look for more information soon on how to get involved with the duck race,” said Marquis.