Although school will end soon for the summer break, a variety of youth activities will be scheduled over the next three months throughout the Antelope Valley that are designed for physical fitness, academic enrichment, community involvement and just plain fun.
The following programs taking place locally through September can greatly assist young people in their academic and social maturation, as well as promoting fellowship physical activity.
—First up, tomorrow is the Zombie Run at 9 a.m. at Domenic Massari Park, 37716 55th St. in Palmdale. Hosted by the Youth Support Association (YSA), the Zombie Run is a fun-filled race that entails each runner receiving three “life ribbons” to attach to their race bib. Runners who cross the finish line with all three ribbons will be entered into a drawing for a top prize. Those participants who cross the finish line with less than three ribbons will be entered into a drawing for a lower prize. “Zombies” will be ever-present throughout the course to chase down runners and take a ribbon.
Water and snacks will be available to all participants; register online at www.avysa.org or call (661) 949-6615.
Just after the race, the inaugural Teen SummerScape will take place from noon to 4 p.m. The event will feature a fun zone, food vendors, booths by community groups and resources for teens. Admission is free. Teen SummerScape is sponsored and partly funded by the Warnack Foundation which donated $13,000 for the event.
“We’re excited to present this brand new event for teens to promote and provide healthy living and outdoor activities, while providing them with access to helpful resources available,” said Becky Bartlett, city of Palmdale recreation coordinator. Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford remarked about the pre-summer youth activity: “Our heartfelt thanks go out to the Warnack Foundation as they continue to provide programs, activities and events for all our residents.” For more details about Teen SummerScape, call (661) 267-5611 or visit www.cityofpalmdale.org.
—Parents of middle school students may want to take their pre-teens and “tweens” to the “Why Shouldn’t I Be Sexually Active” seminar tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Fire Department Training Center, 42110 6th Street West (West Avenue M and 6th Sixth Street).
With an eye on preventing teenage pregnancy, the program will last about two hours and will cover the following topics: encouragement of the parental/teen discussion of sex, delaying sexual activity, a dialogue on sexual decision making, and a discussion of safe sex practices. Pizza, salad and refreshments will be served and door prizes awarded. Sponsors include El Nido Family Services, Children’s Bureau Partnership for Families, Grace Resources and the Antelope Valley Youth Support Association. For reservations or more information, call the Antelope Valley Youth Support Association at (661) 949-6615 or visit www.avysa.org.
—The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Antelope Valley will conduct its Summer Brain Gain series through June 8 in Palmdale and through June 16 in Lancaster. The program is designed to keep secondary school students on track for graduation, focusing primarily on narrowing the “achievement gap” among low-income students. With assistance from the Disney Corporation, Staples Corporation as well as co-sponsorship from local Olive Garden restaurants, Michael’s craft stores and Antelope Valley Ford, officials offer the program as a way to counter the loss of two months of academics during the summer break.
Also, the Boys and Girls Clubs will host their Club Genius Day Camps from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Aug. 6 in Palmdale and Lancaster. Spaces are usually limited; the cost is $75 per week. The Palmdale Boys and Girls Club is located at 815 E. Avenue Q6; the Lancaster location is at 45404 N. Division St. For more details about the Summer Brain Gain and Club Genius, call (661) 860-6016.
—The Palmdale City Library Summer Reading Program will begin June 9 at 700 E. Palmdale Blvd. Registration begins at 10 a.m. with the program starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free for children up to 12 years old. A Teen Summer Reading Program allows youth to earn tickets to win raffle prizes. Both programs will continue through Aug. 2.
“This year’s theme is ‘Paws to Read,’ and the library will host several animal-themed events over the course of the summer to encourage kids to keep up their reading skills,” said Thomas Vose, director of the Palmdale City Library. “We’ll get things started with some face painting and a lot of fun on June 9.”
More than 900 children participated in the program last year, and Vose has vowed to break the 1,000 mark. “We know this community of readers will make that happen,” he said. The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Palmdale City Library and by a grant from the Dollar General Foundation. Palmdale City Library is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For registration or more information, call (661) 267-5000 or visit www.cityofpalmdale.org/library.
—“Barks and Books” is a unique program to allow youth a little quality time with their dog or cat. The idea is to sit quietly with their pet and read within a stress-free environment. It is scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. July 15 and 22, and on Aug. 12 and 26 at Palmdale City Library. For more information, call (661) 267-5600. On July 8, the library will host its Wildlife Learning Center from 1 to 2 p.m.
—DeShawn Shead, cornerback with the world champion Seattle Seahawks, will conduct from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 28 a Youth Skills Football Camp at Palmdale High, 2137 E. Avenue R. Shead once played at Highland High School in Palmdale.
The camp will be open to youth 8 to 17 years old and will focus on speed, agility, hand/eye coordination, flexibility, mobility, body control and advanced footwork. The price is $100 per person and will include lunch.
“I’m really excited about this camp and coming back to my hometown to share some things about the game I love with our up-and-coming football players,” Shead said. “It will be a lot of fun and everyone will learn a lot. I’m hoping for a great turnout.”
Space for the camp will be limited; check in will be at 8 a.m. For more details, call (661) 429-6559 or visit www.dsheadskillscamp.com.
—La Petite Academy, 43741 Challenger Way, Lancaster, will host from June 16 through Aug. 11 its annual summer camp that will include field trips to Jet Hawks Stadium, cherry picking, a mini concert, a circus performance, hikes and nature walks at the Lancaster Indian Preserve. The price is $173 per week (meals included) for youth 6 to 18 years old, and $198 per week for children attending Kindergarten and younger. For more details, call (661) 945-1800.
—The City of Lancaster Department of Parks and Recreation will host its “Great Escape” summer camp from June 16 through Aug. 8 at Lancaster City Park located at 43063 10th Street West. There will be a variety of activities to peak the interest of youngsters, including excursions each Thursday to local parks. The price is $150 per week. For details, call (661) 723-6077.
—Pinecrest School, 2110 West Avenue K, Lancaster, will host from June 16 through Aug. 15 a number of academic workshops as well as its “Stitch-It-Up” sewing and crafts program, Jazz and Hip Hop concerts, culinary instruction and regular field trips. The price is $175 per person. For more details, call (661) 723-0366.
—Young Artists Workshop at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) held the last Thursday of each month, gives youth 17 and younger an introduction to the creative concepts behind the exhibitions on display at MOAH. Held from 3-5 p.m., the free program enables youth to explore skills such as assemblage, weaving, and collage while learning artistic terms. The next worskohop will be held June 26 at 665 West Lancaster Blvd., (661) 723-6250.
The last Thursday of every month, youth 17 years old and younger are invited to participate in the free drop-in workshops.
The U.S. Department of Education in 2007 reported that the long summer break can have a greater negative effect on learning for children with special educational needs. For instance, ESL (English as a Second Language) students may have their English language skills set back by an extended period without practice. The report also indicated that summer learning loss equaled at least one month of instruction as measured by grade-level equivalents on standardized test scores. On average, children’s test scores were lower by one month of instruction when they returned to school in the fall than scores were when they left for summer break. Most American secondary school students spend between 175 and 180 days in school each year. Japanese children, for instance, spend an average of 240 days in school.
The educational website FamilyEducation.com in 2012 reported that the summer “brain drain” is more detrimental for math than it is for reading. Also, middle class students reportedly improved reading skills during the summer while lower-income children suffered because the former group often have more enrichment activities (camps, trips).
FamilyEducation.com suggests you heighten your child’s reading skills by keeping lots of books on hand and making regular trips to the library. Most libraries schedule special summer events for kids. Just before the summer break begins, talk with your child’s teacher about what he/she may be learning in September. For instance, if a unit will be taught on the natural environment, try taking a trip with your child to the beach, mountains or desert for research. Keep math in mind. Since kids lose more math skills than anything else over the summer, try to do some special planning to find math-related activities.
Finally, consider summer school or tutoring where each avenue of study can help to enrich and accelerate learning in areas where kids show a special interest.