Camp Olympics brings together Routt County youth for friendly competition
Local Olympian Caroline Lalive speaks to collection of day camp participants
Steamboat Springs — It took 6-year-old Darby Martinez 10 attempts to finally move an Oreo cookie from the top of her forehead to her mouth Wednesday at Soda Creek Elementary School.
Sitting on her hands, Darby squinted and methodically wiggled her cheekbones until the cookie finally reached her tongue. The second-grader said her patience had paid off.
“It’s a great event because no matter what, you get to eat an Oreo at the end,” she said.
Darby was one of 250 children who participated in Steamboat Springs’ first Camp Olympics, which brought together children from the city of Steamboat Springs Summer Camps, Steamboat Ski Area’s Kid’s Adventure Camp, Hayden’s Totally Kids Camp and the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat to compete in events that ranged from sprinting to “Duck Duck Splash.”
After finishing a sprinting competition, Michael Robinson, 7, said the full day of outdoor activities was a welcome addition to his roster of camp activities this month, which included trips to Steamboat Lake, the gondola and Steamboat’s hot springs.
“It’s been exciting,” he said. “You play lots of games, and you get soaked.”
Steamboat Youth Programs Coordinator Alexis Wolf said she didn’t know what to expect when the groups of children began to converge on a single field at the elementary school Wednesday, but sometime between the Oreo cookie game and the tug-of-war finale, she was convinced that every child was having a good time.
“They’re laughing still,” she said as a group of kids across the field tried to pour a bucket of water on their camp counselor. “Hopefully they continue to realize how much fun they can have outside.”
The camp began in a gym, where Olympic skier Caroline Lalive told the children what it was like to be a member of the U.S. Ski Team.
Lalive, who attended Steamboat’s Lowell Whiteman School, joined the U.S. Ski Team when she was 16 and competed in her first Olympics two years later in 1998.
“I’ve reached speeds up to 95 miles per hour on my skis,” she said, to oohs and ahhs from campers.
The campers asked Lalive how many bones she had broken, whether she was nervous competing at world events and whether she thought she was born to ski.
After the children had a chance to look at Lalive’s Olympic rings up close, Wolf said the Olympian’s appearance would help the children learn better sportsmanship and the value of determination. She also predicted that at least one of the 250 students who attended Camp Olympics would go on to become an Olympian.
“A lot of these kids start to ski when they’re 2 or 3 years old,” she said. “Having Caroline here gives them an idea of what they can expect when they reach that level of competition.”
— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email ScottFranz@SteamboatToday.com
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