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Plan a home mini-camp for winter break
new slt DIY camp main
Children use their imaginations to turn scarfs into flying capes, hula skirts and swirling clouds, during an activity Monday evening at the Great Bend Public Library.Weekly Story Time resumes next month, with sign-up starting Jan. 3, but children are welcome any time the library is open. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Keep active with GBRC


The Great Bend Recreation Commission offers a number of activities during the winter break. Enroll for all activities at the GBRC office, 1214 Stone St.

• Kids Day Out is an annual activity for children ages 6 through 12 years old to spend a day at the "Rec," GBRC Director Diann Henderson said. It will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 28 and 29 at the GBRC Activity Center, 2715 18th St. Each day’s program will include cartooning, zoo presentations from Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo Staff, bowling at Walnut Bowl, games and crafts. The fee is $13 per day, and today is the last day to register.

• Laurie McCurry will lead a "Give Calories the Boot" exercise class on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at the GBRC Activity Center. Pre-registration is required, and the fee is $5. New regular exercise sessions start Jan. 3.

• The normal operating hours for the Cavanaugh Wellness Center (located in the Carl Soden Recreation Center at 1214 Stone St.) are 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 6:30 to 5 p.m. Fridays; and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Carl Soden Recreation Center hours are the same as the Wellness Center with the addition of weekend basketball practices from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

• GBRC Activity Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. (But check for notice of Christmas holiday hours.)

• Over the holidays, the City Auditorium and GBRC Activity Center gyms/walking tracks are open for walkers and joggers.

• Early morning basketball is offered from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, and noon basketball is held Monday through Friday. Annual memberships are required for these programs.

• Drop-in basketball is available in the gyms when basketball practices are not scheduled.


Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about things families can do over the winter break.



The winter vacation from school starts this week, but that doesn’t have to mean a break from learning and healthy living. Keep kids active for the next two weeks with a home mini-camp.

Plan some fun, low-cost "camp" activities to cure winter boredom and create quality family time. Activities can even be educational; make it fun for the kids, and they won’t even know they are learning.

Start your do-it-yourself camp by choosing a theme or project that reflects family interests. It could incorporate a favorite book or movie character (such as Harry Potter or The Little Mermaid), animals, sports or music.

Next, create a camp or team atmosphere with a mascot, T-shirt or camp song, customized by the family.

If the mascot is an animal, do some research on some of its habits or qualities, and have family members share their findings. Or, create a mythical family mascot, with family members writing the story of its origin.

For the T-shirt, get creative with tie-dye, fabric paint or Sharpie markers, or pick up inexpensive matching Tees at a local retail store.

For the camp song, have each family member write a verse. It can be set to a simple tune, such as "Jingle Bells."

Next, plan some activities. These may include trips, skits, games, contests and story telling. How about a 5-K Family Fun Run? Set a distance and pace appropriate for the whole family. Even pets and kids in strollers can join in.

Don’t forget to schedule daily reading time, individually or as a family activity. Eric Coulbourne, children’s librarian at the Great Bend Public Library, notes children benefit from being read to or from having someone listen to them read aloud. "It’s fun to read, and it’s a skill you never want to stop developing with your child," he said.

A visit to the library can be one of your camp activities. If they don’t already have them, this would be a great time to get library cards for every family member. In addition to a Great Bend Public Library card, ask for a Kansas Library card, that provides online access to a number of data bases. The library can also be a helpful place when researching other projects.

Finally, be sure to take photos, write stories or save mementos of your adventures for a camp scrapbook.