Blue Lake Summer Fun Days
When: Every Tuesday through Thursday
July 11 through Aug. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Free lunch served from noon to 1 p.m.
Where: Blue Lake Regional Park
21224 NE Blue Lake Road, Fairview
Free. No registration required. Free parking when entering from
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on event days.
Contact: Lupine DeSnyder
With classes now officially out of session, kids will have the opportunity to participate in a different type of hands-on learning this summer at Blue Lake Regional Park.
In a partnership with Oregon State University Extension Service and Reynolds Nutrition, Metro will host the second series of Summer Fun Days – free activity-filled days every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from July 11 to Aug. 10 for kids 18 and under.
The series will provide activities with the help of Blue Lake Young Rangers – middle and high school-aged students from underserved communities.
“It’s a unique chance to visit the park and connect with nature activities,” said Lupine DeSnyder, a Metro volunteer coordinator who helps organize the Summer Fun Days program. “It gives people a good opportunity to see what the park has to offer – all for free.”
Blue Lake offers activities year-round ranging from fishing to disc golf, to playgrounds and swimming. At Summer Fun Days, kids will have the opportunity to participate in nature crafts and games, as well as activities in the Natural Discovery Garden.
“I feel like the program fills the need for kids to have a place to enjoy a free meal through the summer lunch program, but also provides engaging activities so that kids have something interesting to do during the summer,” DeSnyder said.
This year, Metro is hoping to emphasize one of the park’s more popular points of interest, the Natural Discovery Garden. In the garden, kids can learn and talk about how to grow a garden in a healthy, nontoxic and sustainable way – something that is a priority for Metro.
“Blue Lake is very recreational, and so there’s been the sort of stewardship and the connection-to-place component that’s important to us,” said Stacey Sowders, the program coordinator for the Blue Lake Young Rangers program and outreach coordinator for OSU’s Extension Services. “We wanted to use Blue Lake as a site that kids can go back to.”
The partnership between OSU’s Extension Services and Metro began last year through a Nature in Neighborhoods grant given to support the Blue Lake Young Rangers project. Created by the Washington County 4-H Association, the young rangers program serves as a way to connect underserved youth to real-world, outdoor projects in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
The program is a valuable professional development experience for many of the students, Sowders added.
“For our students, it’s a really great learning opportunity,” Sowders said. “They know us, they’re comfortable with us. They’re getting a lot of exposure that I think oftentimes you don’t get at that young age.”
Seng Yian Saechao, an educator for the Blue Lake Young Rangers program, said that the stipend provides much more than just money for the young rangers’ time.
“It’s kind of a way to show them we appreciate their work, and what they’re doing does matter,” Saechao said. “Having them out there and showing them that they can make a difference is actually really impactful on their own lives.”