You can safely say that the Wood River Valley’s lengthy list of summer youth recreation options starts with the Summer Youth Program at Ketchum’s Atkinson Park—now 36 years young-at-heart and planning for more.
So-called “Park Rats” have belonged at Ketchum’s Atkinson Park during the summer for over two generations. Recreation supervisor John Kearney knows. He grew up as a “Park Rat” and knows that a summer filled with supervised activities at Atkinson Park makes for a very happy kid.
The 10-week Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department program starting Monday, June 10 and continuing weekdays through Thursday, Aug. 15 is packed with enough variety to satisfy any child willing to try something new and meet new friends.
Once you’ve spent a summer in the Atkinson Park Summer Youth Recreation program, you’re officially a “Park Rat.”
The park is a safe summer haven for fun, where there’s something happening all the time. About the only time it shuts down is July 4-5 for the Independence Day holiday.
Children are separated into three age groups for their sessions—grades 3-4 (ages 8-9), grades 5-6 (ages 10-11) and grades 7-9 (ages 12-14). There are two sessions, the first from June 10-July 11, the second July 15-Aug. 15. You must be entering the third grade to sign up for the park program.
Sessions are split into Mondays and Wednesdays, and Tuesdays and Thursdays. The kids are occupied each day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Baseball, tennis, skateboarding, flag football, golf, lacrosse and swimming are just some of the activities. You can start your day with yoga, and add to the mix things like volleyball, mountain biking, soccer, basketball and lawn games like bocce ball and frisbee golf.
If you need to be inside, you can play cards or board games. Test your creativity with arts and crafts, and the performing arts. Wind down each afternoon with “Wreck Play” near the park recreation building.
An exciting newer addition to the city’s public park system is the Ketchum Bike Park across the street from the park. Created in partnership with the Blaine County School District, the bike park offers agility skill building in a safe environment.
Besides Kearney, those on hand to guide the kids and run the programs are youth recreation supervisor Bobby Noyes and Recreation Center supervisor Maggie Burbridge, plus a youth staff consisting of college and high school athletes, and past Park Rats summer alumni.
Online registration started April 1 at ketchumidaho.org by visiting Parks & Recreation on the city’s home page. It’s vital to sign up early because many activities have limited space.
To help ensure your child’s space in any activity, it’s best to hand-deliver your form to the Atkinson Park office, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone number is 726-7820.
Friday Adventures, pioneered by the Ketchum summer youth program, are a popular feature of the summer program. They send first-come, first-served entrants ages 8 and older on trips and out-of-town activities. Here is a tentative 2013 summer schedule:
- June 14—Frisbee golf extravaganza up and down Baldy;
- June 21—Hayspur Fish Hatchery and Silver Creek swimming holes;
- June 28—Easley Hot Springs “Mount Park Rat” extravaganza;
- Also on June 28—10th annual Junior Chuck Gates Invitational golf tournament at Bigwood Golf Course;
- July 12—Singles tennis tournament at the park;
- July 19—Caving near Shoshone;
- July 26—River rafting down the Salmon River day stretch;
- Aug. 9—Dierkes Lake swimming trip to Twin Falls;
- Aug. 16—Singles tennis tournament;
- Aug. 28-30—End of summer camp-out.
Special recreational opportunities are the United Kingdom Recreational Soccer Camp from Aug. 19-23 (www.uksocca.com); Crazy Dress Day Wednesday, June 26; and “Park Rat Games” on July 10 and Aug. 14. The Park Rat Idol Talent Show and Bake Sale will be yummy and fun to watch on Thursday, Aug. 1.