Tongue River Valley Community Center offers summer fun

SHERIDAN — Summer can be a busy time full of personal hobbies, extracurricular activities and community events. Conversely, it can also be a time when others slip into a slump and lack motivation to leave the air-conditioned couch.

Whether seeking to learn something new, continue a year round hobby or simply add structure to your — or your child’s — lackadaisical summer days, the Tongue River Valley Community Center likely has something right for your family.

The TRVCC operates out of two centers, one in Ranchester and one in Dayton.

Being neighbors who are equally isolated from many of the other offerings of Sheridan County, the two centers work together to offer a variety of activities from academic to recreational in focus and all aimed at being culturally enriching.

For those students either fighting the summer learning lag or needing a place to continue their day after summer school lets out in the afternoon, the Ranchester center offers two summer sessions of their after-school program called TRACK.

The K-5 summer school program gives students a place to hang out with others while stimulating their brains and muscles.

“We base our program on overall character building so we do activities, art projects, cooking projects and community service projects,” said TRVCC Executive Director Erin Kilbride. “We also work through the school to continue work on reading, math and even robotics.”

Robotics is the focus of Lego Camp where third- through fifth-grade students gather to build and program robots, a hobby which teaches problem solving, science and computer programming in a fun environment.

If keeping active is the main focus for your little one this summer there are a variety of sporting activities to join.

Itty bitty t-ball is offered for preschoolers to learn the game of baseball, build their coordination skills and get them playing outside. For the movers and shakers of the valley, dance teachers are brought in from outside companies to teach dance in the center.

The annual Battle Under the Bighorns 3-on-3 basketball tournament will once again be played with teams from all over the state in grades 3-8.

For fitness for all ages, both centers offer workout facilities and the Dayton Center will host fitness classes all summer long.

Many young people are not looking for only one activity a day and for them there are multiple camps to choose from that offer activities from swimming to learning and everything in between.

FANS Camp — fun with art, nature and science — is an all-day, week long camp offered the first week in July where attendees will be offered swimming lessons, art lessons and even go on four field trips including a trip to the Battle of the Bighorn Museum and a trip to Acme Ponds for kayaking and fishing. Friendship Camp is a smaller way to ease your children into camp life, lasting three days and held in the afternoon only. Here children get conditioned to socializing and learn how to be a good neighbor to others.

Monique Barron, a local mother of six children, cannot identify a camp they have not enrolled a child in and says it is the wide variety that makes TRVCC the incredible asset to the community that it is.

“The quality of the leaders that run the program, I’ve never seen it anywhere else,” she said. “They have done such a good job of pulling in experts from different areas.”

Barron said the center has played an integral part in the lives of each of her kids who range in age from 2 to 14, especially because they are home schooled.

“All of our extracurricular activities are solely through the community center,” Barron said. “We religiously watch the newsletter to see what offerings are coming up.”

Barron said from learning about the greater community through the hunting class, to learning CPR in the babysitting class, the variety of offerings through the years have helped her children learn more about themselves and their interests.

“School is pretty structured and here you can branch out and pursue your hobbies with other kids and be yourself with whatever interests you,” she said. “Sometimes parents are so busy cooking meals and doing the things we need to do in our daily lives that we don’t get as creative or involved in their play as we really should and this really helps make sure they get the interactions they need.”

To learn more about the program offerings of the TRVCC call the Ranchester Center at 655-9191, Dayton Center at 655-9419 or see trvcc.org.

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