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Navigating the blue

Kids learn boating, kayaking ropes
By: Brett Ransford, Telegraph Correspondent
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Children ruled the water last week at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center’s “Special Basic Patriotic Camp” on Lake Natoma in Gold River. The Special Basic Patriotic Camp, which is organized as a special event in the 10 weeks of 2011 Summer Youth Aquatic Camps at the aquatic center, is a four-day camp in which around 35 kids ages 7-17 participate in water activities and boating safety training. The aquatic center serves more than 3,500 children and teens a year, but the four-day camp provides a unique chance for families to participate. All four days feature different activities, sometimes instruction videos and a break for lunch midday. The kids learned skills in sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking on top of playing games to keep things fun in the hot weather. Each day focused more on one particular water activity. Day four was a Special Theme Day, during kids were encouraged to dress up in their favorite red, white and blue clothing. On Thursday afternoon, following a day of windsurfing and games, parents and families were welcome to the camp for Parent’s Night. From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., children were able to show off the skills they learned at the camp and take their parents out on the water. The Jansson family, from Folsom, arrived to meet their daughter Emma (11) who was ready to take her family sailing. In attendance were mother and father, Teresa and Mats, and older sister Annika (18), who is a recent Vista del Lago girls soccer star and leaves for Wofford College in Spartansburg, South Carolina on July 30. Annika participated in the Patriotic Camp years ago and now it was Emma’s turn to teach the family her new skills. “I like the sailing,” said Emma. “It’s really calming, you learn to change the ropes and it’s just fun to be out on the water.” Emma surprised her family when she told them they were going to be “getting wet” so she could show them how to rescue a capsized sailboat. “They’re going to get their butts kicked,” joked Emma. “We all lean on one side and fall into the water and have to swim around the boat flip it the other way again.” Emma wasn’t the only kid excited to head out on the water with their parents. Brother and sister Daniel, 9, and Sabrina Sullivan, 12, were also planning on showing their father Pat how to sail. Like the Jansson family, the Sullivans found the Patriotic Camp works with their kids’ summer schedules. The Sullivan children participated in the camp last year and Pat said the cost of the camp is a little bit less than the others. “It’s relatively convenient to come out here and I don’t know that there’s a facility like this one where we can rent equipment, get training and actually come here and just have a nice day,” said Pat. He and his wife Julie brought their two kids out to Lake Natoma over the Independence Day weekend, but Sabrina said she learned new things at the camp. “Today we did windsurfing so we learned how to stand up and turn and face the right way. We also did paddle boarding and just kind of swam in the water,” said Sabrina. Daniel’s favorite parts were the hydro bikes and the kayaks. “It’s like a bike on water and I’m really good kayaking too.” Jamie Hansen, youth program supervisor, and five counselors were present at the Parents’ Night and more staff was there throughout the week. “There are games involved and we’ll watch videos so kids can learn how to say, sail, before they go out and do it. We try and have different activities to make learning the safety of each activity fun,” said Hansen. Special Basic Patriotic Camps will continue next year, according to Sac State Aquatic Center officials. Summer camps continue throughout the final six weeks of summer.