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Kids get active in Sisters Country

The Nugget Newspaper highlights the Deschutes Land Trust's free, guided walks + hikes that engage kids with nature.
By T. Lee Brown
The Nugget
 
Black Butte Eco Bike Explorers combine nature, arts, and mountain biking in the Camp Sherman/Suttle Lake area.
wphoto by Mandy Miller
Black Butte Eco Bike Explorers combine nature, arts, and mountain biking in the Camp Sherman/Suttle Lake area. wphoto by Mandy Miller
  
“It is such a need today to get kids out and moving,” said Chad Rush, recreation programs director at Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD). Families in Sisters Country have a wide array of choices for getting active, from SPRD’s organized classes and sports leagues to last-minute dashes into the National Forest. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Woods Wandering

“Sisters is a great place for us to walk out our front door and explore the outdoors,” said Molly Baumann, mom of two preschool-aged little ones. Her family enjoys the many hiking trails and lakes available “within 30 minutes, so we can get back in time for naps.” Bring a picnic, a jug of water, and sunscreen; invite friends along. Looking for a structured exploration? Join up with a free hike courtesy of Deschutes Land Trust. For lovely walks that connect kids with nature, try the “Fox Walk + Owl Eyes” series. See www.deschuteslandtrust.org for more.

Sisters Dance Academy

Attending a kids’ dance recital in a small town, you might expect to find performances that are cute but not particularly skilled or professional. Sisters Dance Academy blows those expectations away. Styles range from ballet en pointe to hip-hop and jazz. Learn more at www.danceinsisters.com or call 541-719-1208. 

Talent Shows

Can your kid beatbox, juggle, or sing? Can they dance a jig, tell a joke, or show off their dog’s tricks? Sign them up for a talent show; practicing a dance routine or song with friends will keep kids off the couch. Sisters Sunday Showcase talent show is a fun event, not too intimidating, taking place on a great little stage. The next one is August 25 at 1 p.m., at Sisters Farmers Market in Fir Street Park. Email jennie@starshine-

theater.com or text 541-645-0688 to sign up in advance. All ages are welcome.

Biking & Beyond

Local mom Mandy Miller loves Black Butte Eco Bike Explorers, a nonprofit summer program in the Camp Sherman area. “They learn about conservation, art, safe biking skills,” said Miller. “It’s awesome!” Geocaching, racing art boats, bike safety, and butterfly way-stations are among the activities offered. See www.BBEKids.org for information. The bike shop Blazin Saddles and SPRD collaborate on mountain-biking classes, and there is a bike park on SPRD grounds (www.sistersrecreation.com).

Horseback Riding

Riding is fun, and developing a relationship with a horse can be emotionally stabilizing and bonding. While riding doesn’t usually provide an aerobic workout, it does get kids moving in the outdoors. Trail rides and beginner lessons are offered by Long Hollow Ranch out on Holmes Road; info at www.lhranch.com or call 541-923-1901. Black Butte Ranch’s stable leads trail rides with guides and “trail-wise horses.” Call 541-595-2061 for reservations.

Starshine Theater

Let’s see: spend the afternoon locked in a video game, or create your own theater show with a bunch of other kids? Some kids might whine for screen time, but discover at Starshine that they really like being creative. Learn more at www.starshine-theater.com. A free workshop will be offered at Sisters Farmers Market on August 25, at 11:30 a.m.

Disc Golf

Tossing around a Frisbee is fun; disc golf is both fun and challenging. Josiah Mensing, a roving reporter from a youth newspaper class, described the local course as “a family fun forest,” with all the trees causing “difficult mayhem” along its scenic 18 holes. Hyzer Pines Disc Golf Course is always open, free of charge, located along Highway 242 next to the SPRD Coffield Community Center at 1750 W. McKinney Butte Rd. 

Laser Tag

Is it 95 degrees and muggy outside? Or 20 degrees and icy? It’s nice to have an indoor escape that’s not an ongoing class or team sport. Cascade Laser Tag gets kids moving — and aiming, ducking, and leaping. Learn more at www.cascadelasertag.com. 

Fun at the Park

The equation: kids + more kids = activity. Village Green buzzes with local and tourist kids all summer and on weekends. SPRD hosts a skate park (www.sistersrec

reation.com). Every Sunday at Sisters Farmers Market, kids climb trees, race around the perimeter of Fir Street Park, and play in the splash pad fountains, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (www.sistersfarmersmarket.com). Keep an eye out for free events at local parks, hosted by organizations like Sisters Folk Festival (www.sisters

folkfestival.org) and Citizens 4 Community (www.citizens

4community.com). 

Tiny Tykes Intro to Sport

SPRD’s new class is for children in preschool and kindergarten. “We want to take away the idea of ‘choosing a sport’ at such a young age like previous programs did,” said Rush. “We will teach about movement, teamwork, respect, and hard work. These skills translate to whatever sport the child chooses at a later time.” More information is available at www.sistersrecreation.com or call 541-549-2091.

Seed to Table 

Hands-on in the outdoors, kids learn where real food comes from by planting, weeding, and harvesting at this educational farm. Learn more at www.seedtotableoregon.org, call 541-480-0039, or drop by their booth at Sisters Farmers Market every Sunday.

Active Neighborhood

Take a page from Brittany Morioka’s book: make your front yard an outdoor play destination for your kids, and encourage neighbors to do the same. (See related article, page 1.)

Fishing

Metolius Pond opened last year on the grounds of the old Metolius Hatchery near Camp Sherman. Created especially for kids and disabled anglers, it is stocked regularly with trout from Wizard Falls Hatchery. For details, search on “Metolius Pond” at the www.dfw.state.or.us website or call 800-720-6339. SPRD plans to offer a community fishing event in September. Throughout the summer, kids and adults alike can learn fly fishing basics in sessions at Black Butte Ranch (www.blackbutteranch.com). 

Outlaw Martial Arts

Offering Brazilian jiu jitsu, and taekwondo instruction, Outlaw Martial Arts offers classes and after-school pick-up programs. The studio is beloved of many local families and kids. See www.outlawmartialarts.com. Also look out for a new jiu jitsu class offered in collaboration with SPRD.

Rocks & Caves

Some people are more likely to move around and get outdoors if they have something to look for. Encourage a hobby like rockhounding by giving a sedentary child a few beautiful stones and an interesting book on the subject. Shop for gems or excavate crystals at Nature’s Bling, 183 E. Hood Ave. 

Then branch out into exploring streambeds near town. Find Skylight Cave out on McAllister Road near Sisters and Black Butte Ranch. Learn about lava along Highway 242: start at the interpretive center at East Portal, then drive out to the stark volcanic landscape of Dee Wright Observatory. 

For a day trip, check out Richardson’s Rock Ranch near Madras.

Kid Made Camp

Kids cook and make crafts outdoors, then walk around town learning about entrepreneurship from professionals. They build market booths and run through splash pad fountains. Time spent painting, crafting, and handling money is balanced by unstructured outdoor playtime. Details are online at www.kidmadecamp.com.

Sports & More at SPRD

Gymnastics, volleyball, and cooking class registrations kick off in September. Register for fall season soccer, flag & tackle football by mid-August to get the best registration rates; practices begin shortly thereafter. Kids in grades 3 through 5 can take part in youth volleyball using special, age-appropriate volleyballs starting mid-October (register by September 27 for best rates). Information and registration available soon at www.sistersrecreation.com, in person at 1750 W. McKinney Butte Rd. or by calling 541-549-2091.

Swimming & Strength

The indoor pool at Sisters Athletic Club hops year-round with open swim times and swimming lessons. Many local teens take other classes here, too, or do strength training. See www.

sistersathleticclub.com.

Got more ideas for active kids? The Nugget wants to hear about it. Email 

tiffany@plazm.com with your suggestions.
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