About this time every year, youngsters start thinking about what to do when school gets out and parents start wondering what they will do when their children get bored.
Parents and children were able to "shop" for summer activities Saturday at Fashion Place Mall during a Summer Planning Fair sponsored by the mall and Wasatch Canyons Hospital.Representatives from area recreation centers and youth organizations were on hand to distribute idea-generating information and even register children for various programs, but most fair participants agreed there isn't a single clearinghouse for parents to turn to when they want ideas about summer programs for their children.
Salt Lake County offers the widest variety of youth activities, child care and summer recreation possibilities in the area, said Taunya Johnson of the Magna Recreation Center. She suggested parents check with the county to see what is available near their home, or contact municipal government offices and ask about summer programs offered in the community.
Identifying a child's particular interest, then contacting related recreation, arts, or other organizations is another avenue parents can try when looking for worthwhile summer activities.
The Utah Museum of Natural History, for example, has a junior science academy that is now in its 18th year. The museum offers museum and field programs for children in the second through 12th grades, and programs for parents to attend with their children.
Horizons/Salt Lake Community Education also sponsors a "Space Camp" at Hansen Planetarium, a "Shakespeare's England" hands-on history experience, and other educational day camps during the summer.
Of course no respectable fair about ideas for youngsters in the summer would be complete without representation from the granddaddy of summertime activities summer camp. The YMCA and Girl Scouts are both registering youngsters for camps this summer.
Fall is the biggest recruiting season for Girl Scouts overall, said Debbie Hoffman, Girl Scout adult development director, but many girls join in the spring just to participate in summer camp activities at either Trefoil Ranch in Provo Canyon or Camp Cloud River near Park City.
The YMCA has day camp activities in Salt Lake County and operates Camp Roger, located about 60 miles east of Salt Lake near Kamas.
YMCA Camp Director Lauraine Clark said summer camp activity at Camp Roger peaked in 1982, declined somewhat, and is back on the rise. Many campers register for a six-day camp, but some stay two or more weeks at a time.
Camps and other recreation programs that typically have their peak season during the summer are altering their schedules to meet the new demands of year-round school schedules. Clark said Camp Roger already offers a winter camp, and plans to accommodate students in year-round schools are picking up as the number of students in those schools increases.
Johnson said Salt Lake County is also adjusting its schedule of activities to accommodate students who don't have all of their school vacation in the summer.