John F. Russell: Summer filled with opportunities

John F. Russell

The school year is winding down, and for the next three months children in Steamboat Springs will have plenty of time on their hands.

That is, if it finally stops raining.

There are all kinds of opportunities for children in this town, ranging from soccer and baseball to dance, golf and tennis. Truth is, parent will have to choose at some point, and if your child has enough time and energy, these activities can keep going all summer long.

New this year are a couple of opportunities for children on the golf course. The programs are designed to bridge the gap between the local junior programs offered at all four local courses and the world of competitive junior golf, which includes the Colorado Junior Golf Association, the American Junior Golf Association and high school golf.

There will be a new junior tournament series with events at all four of the local courses. The will also be a PGA-sponsored junior league, where teams of golfers are introduced to the competitive game on a team level.

If golf isn’t your child’s game, High Altitude Basketball is offering a camp to introduce young athletes to the fundamentals of basketball. The camp is run by a former Steamboat Springs high school basketball standout Michael Vandahl, who has returned to the Yampa Valley hoping to pass his love of the game to the next generation.

If your child happens to fall in love with the game, High Altitude Basketball is there to fill the gap with recreational basketball leagues at the younger level and club teams at the junior-high and high-school levels.

There are also plenty of opportunities locally on the tennis courts. The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs will offer seven sessions this summer, beginning in mid-June and running through mid-August. Players will be taught stroke technique, rules, game skills and etiquette. For more competitive players, there is the Junior Academy. This program offers instruction, camps and a newly formed junior team tennis league aimed at introducing kids to the team side of tennis.

In addition to these opportunities, there are also soccer camps and tournaments, youth baseball leagues and numerous other sports. There are physical training camps, ski camps and plenty of mountain bike trails to be discovered. Every other week, the Town Challenge Mountain Bike race series offers divisions for children, and there are plenty of running races to choose from.

This is a great time to be a child, and the opportunities in Steamboat Springs are enough to make any adult want to trade in our MasterCards Visas and American Express cards for another shot at being a kid. There may have been the same chances to play when I was a child, but I remember a lot of summer days spent hanging out on my parents’ front porch with my buddies, trying to figure out what to do with all our free time.

The time when summer days were spent hanging out in your buddies’ front yards wondering how to spend the day are gone. In today’s world, the summer break isn’t nearly long enough to take advantage of all the opportunities filling the summer calendar in Steamboat Springs.

The truth is, I’m jealous.

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