FARMINGTON — Children from around San Juan County have various opportunities for fun and adventure this summer. From the largest children's festival of the year on June 7 to daily events and learning opportunities, organizations have come together to keep children safe and entertained until school starts again.
Farmington Boys and Girls Club
While the Farmington Boys and Girls Club isn't strictly a summer activity, it has arranged special events for children ages 6 to 15 this summer.
Activities begin at 7:45 every morning starting June 2.
The club offers field trips, sports camps and other activities, including presentations by jugglers and the Albuquerque Zoo to You program.
One of this year's new activities will be the summer brain game. The goal behind the game is to prevent children from losing the knowledge they've gained over the school year, and, hopefully, to add to what they learned in school, said the organization's president and chief professional officer, Benedikte Whitman.
Whitman said many children who go to Boys and Girls club struggle in school.
"We know that the summer is really hard for these kids," she said.
Whitman said the brain game has been tested in other areas of the country and helps children to not fall further behind. The games are a complete curriculum that staff members can teach with little training.
"We can really do it on a very small group basis," Whitman said.
San Juan County KidFest
From games to information booths, KidFest offers parents help planning for the summer while their children play.
The popular event attracted an estimated 20,000 people last year, and the founder, Shawntay Wolfe, said she expects it will be larger this year.
"I think that a lot of families have kind of used it to kick off the summer," Wolfe said.
She explained the festival includes booths for other summer activities, including vacation Bible school and sports camps.
While the festival provides information for parents, it is also a place where children can have fun.
"We have such an element of fun to it that kids feel like it's for them when they walk through the gate," Wolfe said.
This year's theme will be Superheroes. Wolfe said various superheroes have committed to attending the event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 7 at McGee Park. Spider-Man, Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Captain America and Wonder Woman are among the superheroes children can expect to see this year. Wolfe said the festival will have meet-and-greet areas where children can take pictures with their favorite superheroes.
Because it is such a large event, families will receive color-coded bracelets, and parents are asked to write their cell phone numbers on the bracelets to make it easier to reunite lost children with their families.
One new activity this year, which the festival is doing in conjunction with Star 102.9, is a zip line to raise money for the Hope Children's Fund, which provides families financial help with food, transportation and lodging expenses while their child receives medical care outside San Juan County.
"We'll have kids flying over the crowd," Wolfe said.
She said the kids will wear Superman capes as they fly. The zip line is one of the few activities with an associated cost. One ride will cost $5.
Sycamore Park Community Center
Other fun activities available this summer are the Car and Craft Show, father-son campout, skateboard competition and Back-to-School Bash hosted by the Sycamore Park Community Center.
The events kick off June 14 with the Car Show and Craft Fair, which attracts local car enthusiasts to display a variety of cars at the parks.
At 6 p.m. on June 27, the center will host the father-son campout.
As part of the Freedom Days celebration, the center will partner with Party in the Park at noon on July 4 for the skateboard competition.
The Back to School Bash is from 2 to 4 p.m. July 25.
In addition to these events, the center also hosts daily activities, such as trips to the library, skating and swimming.
"It definitely gives (kids) something to do," said Natalie Spruell, the volunteer coordinator. "We like to keep them busy having a good time."
Spruell said the center will post upcoming activities on its Facebook page, facebook.com/SycamoreParkCommunityCenter
The popular Heather McGaughey Theater program filled up within hours of registration opening on May 19, according to Lisa Hutchens, the Farmington Civic Center supervisor.
This year, the program will present "Alice In Wonderland Junior."
While there is already a waiting list, children who didn't make the play can still watch it during two separate sessions on June 25 and July 23. There are different casts for each session.
Hutchens said the program is an important educational experience for children.
"It gives youth in the area an opportunity to experience theater," she said.
She said it also serves as a stepping stone, and many of the children later go on to act in Sandstone Productions plays, such as this summer's play, "Footloose."
Actors in "Footloose" will also work with the children in "Alice In Wonderland Junior."
"It's a good mentoring program as well as a theater stepping stone," Hutchens said.