If Taos kids are asked to write an essay about their summer, many will have stories to share about the fun they had at summer camps. All kinds of activities were offered this summer in and around Taos. Here is a sampling of what kids did with art, soccer, gymnastics, inventing and overnight camping.
At the Harwood Museum, kids 8 to 13 years old made mixed-media collages, paintings, drawings, prints and created their own books in the “I Am, Je Suis, Yo Soy” program. “This is a good idea,” reported one camper to Jayne Schell, head of youth education. Kids of all ages made art at the Taos Farmer’s Market.
At the Millicent Rogers Museum, Michael Hensley led “Art of Drawing Dragons” with a session in June and July. “There are 16 classes for each session and those attending draw a variety of mythical creatures. It is envisioned as a class for teens, but we have kids of all ages attending,” said Hensley.
Alex Waggoner drew a piece called “The Dragon Head,” made with colored pencil on toned paper. "I love going to the museum to relax and draw,” said Alex. “And I love using my imagination and expressing myself creatively.”
Hensley is also director of coaching at Taos Youth Soccer. He says some families who spend their summers in Taos plan around the sessions of “Soccer in the Park” held at Kit Carson Park Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. “We have 50-90 kids at the sessions,” said Hensley. “It is a mix of ages from 9 year olds up to college-age kids who are former participants and drop in when in town. The older kids help set examples and mentor younger kids. Our goal is to build a sense of community.” During the school year, he directs a program called “Soccer after Dark.”
At Twirl Inventors Camps, the theme this year was superheroes. “The kids really loved creating their own characters with special powers,” explained Anais Rumfelt, marketing and play space manager. “They learned robotics, made slime, built super-structures and vehicles, and created their own superhero costumes from upcycled materials. Most of all, they had fun.”
Cristopher, age 9, from Enos Garcia Elementary said, "My mom thinks I'm very creative and wants me to let out all the things in my brain. This camp is awesome! Best camp I've ever been to. I love (Twirl) Inventors Camp.”
Tabitha, age 9, of Taos Day School added, "I love Twirl camp and that I got to spend time with everyone and make new friends. It was so fun. I hope I get to come back."
Amaya, age 9, from Taos Charter School added, "I loved everything! When is the next camp?"
Kids at the High Altitude Athletics Summer Camp had a blast all summer. From water balloon fights to hide and seek, to building elaborate forts out of gymnastic mats, the camp counselors kept the kids laughing and insisting they didn't want to go home at the end of every day.
HAA camper Zoe Torres said, "Our counselors are the most fun ever!" Every day, counselors Rylie Rowe, Pablo Archuleta, Keenan Greywolf and Cassandra Ruiz found new ways to have fun at the HAA Summer Camp.
Campers mastered the fundamentals of basic gymnastics and tumbling, and also learned beginning chess strategies. They took the Blue Bus to go swimming and skating. The campers were introduced to soccer tricks and went to Michael’s Kitchen where they decorated donuts.
The kids also visited local museums and watched a children's play, took tours around Taos and created art at the Harwood Museum. Some campers took advantage of HAA's partnership with UNM-Taos and attended coding classes where they learned to build their own websites, program games and code robotics.
At Camp Shaver near Jemez Springs, campers from 7-14 years old got to participate in fun activities like Harry Potter and Star Wars camps. The YMCA camp has been operating here since 1945 at its rustic site, offering onsite activities and sleepovers in the woods. Campers got to hike, rock climb and have BBQ cook-outs among many other activities. “It was very hot this summer, so we had a lot of fun staying cool with water guns and water balloons,” said camp director Phil Beam.
For more information
When you get ready to think about next summer’s fun and check out available scholarships, visit the Twirl website for a list of camps: twirltaos.org .