Parks & Recreation column: Summer fun in South Lake Tahoe (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Parks & Recreation column: Summer fun in South Lake Tahoe (opinion)

Lauren Thomaselli
Parks & Recreation

July is the height of summer fun in South Lake Tahoe. Residents, visitors and athletes have opportunities to connect with nature, get fit, have fun, and be challenged through a variety of programs and events.

The city of South Lake Tahoe Recreation Services department and the Parks and Recreation Commission are pleased to announce this is the first of a monthly Tribune column highlighting current and upcoming news in parks and recreation. This column is geared toward programs currently being offered at the Recreation and Swim Complex as well as some exciting athletic events attracting professional and amateur athletes from across the country.

Summer is in full swing at the city of South Lake Tahoe Recreation Services Department. We know it's summer when the dome comes off the pool and the sound of children laughing and splashing echoes through the building. We are delighted to report swim lessons are booked out weeks in advance and the response to the quality of instruction is very positive.

For children who live and vacation in Lake Tahoe there is no more important skill to have than to be water safe and proficient in swimming. The aquatics department is not only skilled at coaching youth but adults also have an opportunity to improve technique and fitness with US Masters Swimming. The adult swim program is open to all levels and runs for six week sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Another popular youth summer program is STAR Camp (South Tahoe Adventure Recreation) where the motto is "no child left inside." The goal of STAR Camp is to offer authentic Tahoe experiences that integrate lessons on the environment, history, art and recreation aimed at creating lifelong memories. Programs include guided hikes with Tahoe Institute for Natural Science, presentations by Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Shakespeare at Sand Harbor, tour of Tahoe Maritime Museum, introduction to bike park riding, skateboarding, disc golf, swimming and more.

STAR camp takes place Monday through Friday through August and reservations are highly recommended.

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Recreation services is hosting Jr. Giants Baseball for the third year and is serving over 145 boys and girls for the eight-week program. Jr Giants is more than learning baseball fundamentals, it integrates character building concepts such as confidence, integrity, leadership and teamwork. Jr Giants is made possible through the San Francisco Giants Community Fund, which provides equipment, volunteer training and copious Giants logo swag to reward players for accomplishments in life and in baseball.

It would not be successful without the 45 parent volunteers who serve as coaches, teachers and mentors. The program is free to boys and girls ages 5 to 13.

Tournaments and competitive sporting events round out the summer excitement at facilities and parks. In July, the Recreation and Swim Complex will host the annual "Swimming at Altitude Short Course Swim Meet." Over 200 youth swimmers from across the country compete each day over the three-day period, July 13–15. The event is free to spectators but be advised the facility is at capacity during the meet.

On July 29 South Lake Tahoe BMX will host the USA BMX California State Championship Qualifier. All levels of competition will be on display from pro level riders to novice and even strider riders under 4 years old. The BMX track is located in Bijou Park and is free for spectators. The event starts at noon with qualifying rounds.

The 24th annual South Tahoe Disc Golf Association Pro Am Disc Golf Tournament in Bijou Park is July 22-23. Enthusiasts travel from around the country to watch their favorite professional disc golf player up close and personal. Disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and the local association has given South Lake Tahoe national recognition with this Pro Am tournament.

For information on programs and events visit http://www.cityofslt.us/recreation.

Lauren Thomaselli is the recreation superintendent for the city of South Lake Tahoe.