Summertime at Birch Bay Activity Center: Camp, workouts, classes, karate and more

Published on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 by Ian Ferguson

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The Birch Bay Activity Center (BBAC) is living up to its name this summer, as a full schedule of programs and events keeps the gym, its staff and the community bustling with activity.

Northwest Parks and Recreation District 2 director Heidi Holmes gave a rundown of the programs on offer, all of which are geared to keep participants active and engaged through the hazy days of summer.

“We’ve got a lot going on,” Holmes said. “Our whiteboards and calendars are all marked up, and people are filling up the spots.”

Here are some of the activities on the summer schedule:

Field Days: Kids ages 8–12 can take part in supervised, organized games outdoors. Kickball, soccer, flag football, croquet, bocce and other games are all on the docket. “It’s a chance for kids to get outside and play some old-fashioned games,” Holmes said. “They get fresh air and sunshine, and time away from computers and TV screens.”
Marine Park, Blaine. 12:30–3 p.m., Monday–Thursday, July 15–25, $5 drop-in fee.

Frenzied Fridays: Games centered on a theme to promote fun and fitness for kids ages 7–12. This Friday’s theme, “Winter Wonderland,” will feature a summer snowball fight with rolled up socks and 8–foot skis.

BBAC. 9 a.m.–noon, July 12, 19, 26 and August 2 and 9. Free.

Koastal Kids Adventure Kamp: The weeklong adventure day camp starts with a day of team-building activities and games to build friendships. The next day is “Camping Day” at Birch Bay State Park, where kids learn about camping and outdoor cooking and explore local flora and fauna. Wednesday is “Pirate’s Day,” where kids will explore the world of orienteering, participate in a treasure hunt and play pirate-themed games like capture the flag. Thursday is all about birds, as participants will learn about local birds, go birding and build two types of bird feeders. The final day will be spent at Marine Park in Blaine, where participants will board the Plover ferry and explore the beaches of Semiahmoo spit while learning about the tidal zone. 

Camp director Kat Thorney brings years of experience in team-building, outdoor leadership and childcare to the program, and local educators Leslee and Don Gongaware, who own the local tutoring company Tutor Doctors, will lend an educational aspect to each day’s activities.

“We’re excited to have Kat (Thorney) on board. She’s a really fun person. Don and Leslee (Gongaware) have a knack for making educational experiences really fun as well,” Holmes said.

BBAC. 9 a.m.–3 p.m., August 5–9 and August 12–16. Cost: $175 per child, per week.

Dance and Art: This new program offers classes in dance and art for kids aged 7–13. The first half of each three-hour class will focus on dance, as students learn to waltz, rock-step, cha-cha, foxtrot and swing from instructors Wendy and Megan Bloom. The second half explores art techniques from painting to sculpture, with some drama and improvisation thrown in the mix. “Art is a life skill that brings out your creative side,” Holmes said. “It can be used for reflection and relaxation, and along with dance, it’s a skill you can use for the rest of your life.”

BBAC. Dance classes run 10–11:30 a.m., and art classes run 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. July 23 and 30, August 20 and 27. Cost: $10 for one session, $18 for both, per day.

Shotokan Karate: Another new program focuses on the benefits of a strong, honest spirit, disciplined perfection of technique and the enjoyment of martial arts. The class emphasizes traditional Okinawan karate, and is taught by Eric Henry.

BBAC. 4:30–6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cost: $50 per person, or $100 family rate.

Open Gyms: Basketball: Thursdays, 7–9 p.m. Pickleball: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Badminton: Wednesdays, 5:30–7:30 p.m. Cost: $2 drop-in fee.

Chakra Yoga Classes: Led by Maureen Kelly, this seven-week class focuses on bringing balance to the seven main energy spheres. “It’s a more meditative, relaxing form of yoga,” Holmes said.

BBAC. 10:15–11:30 a.m. Tuesdays starting on September 3. Cost: $59.

Free Hikes: Meet at BBAC at 9 a.m. for carpooling. Lost Lake Trail in the Chuckanut Mountains Wednesday, July 31. Fragrance Lake Wednesday, August 21. Walk from Peace Arch to White Rock and back Wednesday, September 4. 

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