You wouldn't know it from watching her, but just a year ago, 9-year-old Maria Harrison was a beginner climber. She said, "It's not scary cuz you're on a rope when you're doing it and it gives you strength."
After attending climbing camp at MetalMark Climbing and Fitness Gym in Central Fresno, she's now bouldering with the best of them. Her climbing camp counselor said, "It's one of those sports where people they try it and get bit by that bug and fall in love with it. I think it shows them responsibility, that's a big thing, and focused attention in a way they can incorporate a really fun and exhilarating sport with it."
Starting June 17th kids ages 6 through 13 can "learn the ropes" too... no experience necessary.
Or if exploring nature is more to their liking, kids from 1st through 8th grade can splash around at River Camp on the San Joaquin. Camp director Sarah Parkes explains a typical day: "Our river campers spend time exploring on nature walks, canoeing, swimming in the San Joaquin looking for tadpoles, crazy wild group games, we sing silly songs during the day."
Counselors are spending the week preparing for the more than 1200 kids that will go through the popular camp this summer. Parkes said, "We get a lot of kids that have never been on the river before so they're like oh my gosh I had no idea this was here."
From sea creatures to majestic mammals, there's no better place than the Chaffee Zoo for close encounters with animals. The Zoo Adventures Camp stimulates young minds with a science based and hands-on curriculum. Camp director Grace Hamaker said, "The children really learn to love animals, understand behaviors, we teach them in a variety of teaching styles. You're really having children of all abilities learn and experience the zoo in all new ways."
Kids as young as 3 and as old as 17 can get a glimpse of the wild kingdom, right in their own backyard.
For more information on the Summer Camps mentioned and their cost:
San Joaquin River Camp
Chaffee Zoo Adventures
MetalMark Climbing Camp
And for other great summer camps in the Fresno area: