Skagway Summer Camp members take a moment from Frisbee golf to ham it up.

Community members add to summer camp experience

By Casey Dean • Photos courtesy of Jenn Haugh, Skagway Summer Camp

Jenn Haugh, one of the counselors for Skagway Summer Camp, described the many experiences the kids are exposed to as simply “fantastic.”
Haugh said she was glad to see Skagway’s businesses make fun, educational opportunities available to children enrolled in the camp this summer.
Back Country Sports and Packer Expeditions donated kayaking lessons and glacial tours, respectively. Friday, July 13, Colin Aikman, Back Country Sports owner, took the kids out on the school’s kayaks for a day of water sports at Long Bay. His students learned basic paddle techniques, the structure of the boats and boat safety.
Aikman said the decision to donate his time was a mutual decision between camp administrators and himself.
“Most of them had never been in a kayak before and it’s just fun to watch over a course of three hours or so,” he said of the learning curve.
Haugh said the dry suits they donned also allowed the kids to spend some time in the water.
“They [learned] how to jump out of the boats and get back into the boats,” she said. “It was a great opportunity getting some of the younger kids out on boats.”
Aidan Klupar said the kayaking outing has been his favorite activity so far.
“We learned how to kayak really fast and easily,” as well as stand in the boat, he said.
Rohan Kishore shared Klupar’s enthusiasm for kayaking.
“I actually saw an eagle up close and a seal. It was a really good experience,” he said. “I kayaked like almost half a mile!”

Greg Eagan and Rohan Kishore team up for the archaeological dig that Erica Foss, KGRNHP education specialist, organized for the camp. Aidan Klupar, Varsha Chharbria, Jenn Haugh, Rohan Kishore, Yasha Saldi, Juhi Chharbria and Dainean Teeluk made up one of two groups of summer camp kayakers. Colin Aikman, far right, was the instructor for the fun day at Long Bay.

Packer Expeditions donated a Denver Glacier tour the week prior to the kayaking adventure and a tour of Laughton Glacier next week, Haugh said.
She said other community members have made themselves available to the kids throughout the summer as well. Taiya Inlet Watershed Council, which has a grant for outreach education, has exposed the kids to the water cycle and local fisheries, most recently Pullen Pond. Haugh said the next topic campers will explore is salmon.
Erica Foss, education specialist for Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, guided campers through an archaeological dig recently, and the kids join Julene Fairbanks at the library each week for the regular library program. Amber Matthews, Skagway Traditional Council president, has also made herself available for entertainment and education, Haugh said. The kids crafted totems with the Traditional Council; they will act out stories with their masterpieces.

Sarah Red-Laird explains her watershed visual aid to Skagway Summer Campers.

Even in comparison, the everyday activities the kids engage in are anything but boring. Every morning Haugh leads them in games at the gym. Regular trips are made to the Frisbee golf course, and hikes are the norm.
Friday, July 27, campers will put their catering skills to the test. Students enrolled in the summer camp will cook and serve dinner for 40 at the former Haven Cafe to wrap up the program.
Only 40 servings will be available; reservations can be made by calling 973-2028.