Growing Up Chico Summer 2023

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A quarterly resource celebrating family life in Butte County since 2004

Summer Issue 2023 May - June - July

Cover Photo by Wild Sage Portraits

Cover Photography by: Wild Sage Portraits (530) 588-4949

Diane Nicole Photography is home to two brands: Wild Sage Portraits is Diane Nicole's family brand and all about capturing the fleeting moments. Her commercial brand, Social Lifestyle Photography, focuses on visuals for branding your business and headshots.

On The Cover: Shawn, Briana, Charlie, and Lilijana Clark.

Advertising Deadline:

To advertise in our fall issue, please contact us by June 15th. Our fall issue will be on stands August, September, and October.

Contact Jason at: 530-591-2634 or

Growing Up Chico Magazine is published quarterly and available, free, at over 200 family-friendly locations throughout Butte County. We are also available online at

Copyright © 2023 by Growing Up Chico Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproductions without permission are prohibited. Articles and advertisements found in Growing Up Chico Magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the management or ownership. We reserve the right to edit. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions. If an error is found, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us of the mistake.

For Advertising Information, Contact Jason Corona: (530) 591-2634

Aveed Khaki Publisher

(530) 519-5683

Kristiane Ransbarger, M.D.

Dr. Ransbarger's passions are preventing childhood vision loss, educating families, and restoring single vision. She and her husband have three vibrant children, two daughters and a son. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and outdoor adventures with her family.

Andrea Chalmers

Andrea is a social media manager, photographer, and graphic designer for non-profit businesses in Oroville. She loves art, volunteering for charitable causes and events, and a good cup of coffee.

Maddie Rodriguez

Maddie Rodriguez is a writer and editor living in Chico. She loves animals and nature and a nice cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Tim Milhorn

Born and raised in Chico, Tim graduated from Chico High and Chico State. He is an English teacher at Orland High School and soccer coach for Butte United, Orland High, and Butte College. He was also awarded California Interscholastic Federation Model Coach of the Year, 2020-2021.

Shelly Brandon

Shelly is Mom to two daughters, one in college and the other in high school. She is an avid traveler, and a lover of animals and the outdoors. She has been a high school biology teacher, a zookeeper, and lately, a freelance writer.

Jessica Wilhelm

Michelle was born and raised in Chico with big dreams of changing the world. She is the CoFounder and Executive Director of Reading Pals, mother of 4, avid traveler, and has come to believe that perhaps the most effective way to change the world is one child at a time.

Jessica Wilhelm

Jessica is a mama of four, a local business owner, an emergency medical technician, and an art teacher. Often called “Jess of all Trades,” she loves working on backyard projects and knows how to fix almost anything. She has a passion for all things natural, painting murals, and being in the kitchen. She also sings in the worship band at Chico Community Church.

Reading Pals Builds Self Esteem: Learning to read is not just important for literacy, but for the health and wellness of our community at large. See what Reading Pals is doing to encourage literacy and bring it to the forefront.

Care for All Children, All the Time! Valley Oak Children's Services provides necessary support and services to keep our community thriving! Find out how they help, and how you can assist or use their services yourself!


Water Safety: There's no better way to enjoy hot summer months than in one of the many pools or bodies of water around Northern California, but practicing proper water safety is key. Jessica Wilhelm helps ensure this summer is just as safe as it is fun for kids and parents alike.

Getting Your Child Ready for An Eye Exam: Doctor's visits are rarely easy, but planning for them ahead of time can make all the difference. Pediatric Ophthalmologist Dr. Kristiane Ransbarger details the importance of eye exams and how to best prepare your child for theirs.

Summer Fun

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Butte County Summer Camps: There's no shortage of summer camps this year to keep kids engaged during the break from school. Check out the list and find one that's right for yours!

Mud Run: Get out and get dirty! This summer's annual Mud Run in Oroville is sure to be a hit with the littles. Check out what the Lord's Gym has in store this year!

Llamas, and lions, and goats—oh, my! Shelly Brandon takes us on a tour of some of the area's best kept secrets and the perfect places to visit this summer to learn about—and interact with—some furry friends.

Summer Calendar: Summer is finally here, and we've got a whole list of must-visit events throughout May, June, and July! Check out our summer calendar and see what's in store for you!

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Reading Pals Builds Self-Esteem

Desmond Tutu once said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.”

For Michelle Curran, co-founder and director of Reading Pals Chico, this quote sums up exactly what it is that their organization has set out to do: stop kids from falling into that “river”—be it incarceration, dependency, drug abuse, dropping out of school, cyclical trauma and abuse, etc. Statistically, twothirds of students not reading proficiently by the end of fourth grade end up in jail or on welfare. Experts in the spheres of helping to try and solve growing issues like homelessness, incarceration rates, drug dependency, etc all agree that early childhood literacy is the key to helping stop

these problems before they even start.

“We see Reading Pals as an investment strategy—we invest in our young people now and not only will it change this individual child’s life, but it may just help the quality of life for our community as well,” explains Michelle. “The solution is so simple—just one hour per week of one-onone reading time with a positive adult is all it takes, but the impact is huge.”

Over 2,400 kids have come through the program since its inception in 2010. Together with over 1,300 community volunteers, these kids have had over 52,000 hours of one-on-one reading time. Perhaps even more important than the reading time is the relationship built

between the volunteer and student. Take Eriberto for example. Eriberto was a fifthgrade student reading at a second-grade level. After “receiving ruthless mockery from classmates,” he begged his teacher for extra help. Serendipitously, he was paired with René Vercruyssen, one of Reading Pals’ very first volunteers. He later said, “I went from reading being my worst enemy to being able to read within my grade level in the span of three months.” He experienced this life-changing shift because he had encouragement from René and gained the confidence to do what he so badly wanted to do. Seven years later, the prompt for Eriberto’s senior scholarship essay was to write about someone that changed his life, and it ends like this, “....I am no longer


known as the boy that could not read, but known as the man who persevered over his own illiteracy. This was all possible because of the man known as René.”

Reading Pals has seen such impressive results that every year new schools and communities are adding the program. Now, all twelve CUSD elementary schools in Chico and CORE Butte Charter, along with the communities of Paradise, Red Bluff, Corning, Orland, and Palo Alto have all added Reading Pals at some of their school sites with plans of expanding. On average, students enrolled in the program for just four months gain one year of literacy skills,

but they also gain self-confidence and start to believe they do have what it takes to succeed. According to Michelle, that’s where the real magic in the program lies— the person-to-person connection.

Just one hour a week, or $34 per month, can change a student's life forever. Reading Pals can only serve as many students as they have volunteers and funding support to do it. To find out more about sponsoring a student, or volunteering yourself, visit their website at or find them on social media by searching Reading Pals Chico.

SHERWOOD MONTESSORI Enrolling Now - Grades TK-8 (530) 345-6600 1010 Cleveland Ave., Chico, CA 95928 Free tuition Free childcare before & after school Individualized Nurturing Engaging Holistic

Drowning Prevention: How to Stay Cool and Safe This Summer

THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR CHILDREN UNDER 4 IS DROWNING. Think about that for a minute. In fact, more than 4,000 fatal drownings and more than 8,000 near-drownings occur each year in the U.S. 1

As parents and caregivers, we have a duty to make our environment as safe as possible for our children to explore the water. The reality is risk is out there. There is no way around that. We cannot keep our kids in bubbles out of fear, so we must be prepared. Here are my top tips for a safe summer in 2023.

Wear life jackets. Many kids despise life jackets. I used to hate them as a kid—so bulky, awkward, and just plain uncomfortable. If this is what you’re thinking, I have good news for you! If you haven't already heard of the Puddle Jumper life jackets, I can tell you as a mom of four, they are life changing. They strap around the back so the child cannot take it off without help, they do not rise up around their neck, and they support the child’s natural position for swimming. The best part is that they are U.S. Coast Guard approved (look for the seal of approval when purchasing) so

they can wear them on a boat as well. The trick to life jackets is to get your kid to start wearing it as soon as they are within the weight range (about 20 lbs) and don’t let them swim without it. I simply told my kids they are not allowed to go near the water without it, and it became such a part of our swimming experience that no one even knows otherwise.

Talk to your kids about water safety. This should be an ongoing conversation. Let them know it is unsafe to be around the water without supervision, how to get in and



out of the water safely, and to pay attention to their surroundings in natural bodies of water and at pools.

Teach your kids to swim. This seems obvious, but I know plenty of adults that still cannot swim. Knowing how to swim does not eliminate the risk of drowning altogether, but it sure goes a long way in reduction. Starting around 3 or 4, most kids are perfectly capable of learning the basics of swimming. Proper instruction helps with body mechanics, and with practice, they will be swimming in no time. There are many swim schools in Chico, Orland, and Oroville that are great with kids at a variety of price points. If it’s not in the budget this year, chances are you or someone you know can help teach your children. Get them set up with a regular time to be in the water each week and practice kicks, arm strokes, back and tummy floating, and blowing bubbles with their face in the water.

Designate a water watcher. Whether at backyard barbecue, birthday party, or picnic at the river, at any given time there should be a designated water watcher. This means that for a certain period of time, the water watcher is on duty to make sure no one falls in the water. In my family, we take turns in 30-minute increments, so one person isn't stuck watching the kids the whole time. This is especially important at gatherings! When there are many people around a pool, it is more likely that no one is watching, because everyone assumes someone else is watching. My mom even went so far as to create a “water watcher” badge on a lanyard! We hand it off from person to person, so there is no confusion about who is supposed to be watching the kids. This also means that if a child does fall into the pool, they will be pulled out immediately.

Take a CPR/First Aid class. This is the number one thing you can do to make sure you are prepared if the unthinkable happens. When a child (or adult) inhales water into their lungs, the lack of oxygen causes the heart to stop. This is called secondary cardiac arrest. If you have to pull a child from the water, high quality CPR from a bystander has been shown to increase survival rates up to 91%.2 This means that knowing CPR is the difference between life and death for your child. Doing nothing while you wait for EMS to arrive means precious minutes without oxygen to their brain, resulting in an increased likelihood of brain damage or death.

Be prepared this summer! Take a CPR class, teach some swimming skills, grab some life jackets, and get the conversation started about water safety. I want you to confidently take your kids to cool off in the creek, picnic on the Sacramento River, and dip into the pool at backyard barbecues and swim parties. Drowning is scary, but it is preventable! So get out there in the Chico heat and have some quality family fun. Be safe out there!

1 Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://

2 According to, “289 rescue reports between 1999 and 2004 were studied from the Dutch Maatschappij tot Redding van Drenkelingen (Society to Rescue People from Drowning)... Of the 90 cases of bystander CPR by lay-persons on removal from the water 82 survived. This is a 91% survival rate.”



Azad’s Martial Arts

CONTACT: or call 530-892-AZAD (2923), or 530-896-0777

DESCRIPTION: In-person Lessons! Keep Your Child Active & Engaged with Chico Summer Camps at Azad’s Martial Arts! Don’t let your child slip into the habits of inactivity this summer. Join us at Azad’s and treat your child to the fun, uplifting, challenging, and exciting world of Jongshindo! We’re proud to work with children of all ages, lifting kids spirit up, building skills like discipline, respect, courage, plus lifelong habits of physical fitness and mindfulness. Our in-person Summer Camps in Chico include Martial arts training for all experience levels, indoor and outdoor activities, self-defense instructions and supervised games & drills, team-building exercises, and challenges. Azad’s Summer Camps will stimulate your children’s fitness, mind, spirit, positive mental attitude and help them develop essential tools to succeed with life’s challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic. With Azad’s training, your child can overcome anything life throws their way while having a lot of fun learning Jongshindo!

Boys & Girls Club of the

North Valley

Camp Jamoa – Boys & Girls Club Chico

AGES: 6-13 years

COST: $175.00 per week

DATES: June 7-August 11

DESCRIPTION: Our day camp program is open Monday through Friday from 7:45am to 6:00pm. Camp Jamoa is the most affordable summer program and provides some of the most inclusive and extensive services, including weekly themes, local field trips, snacks, and more. Sign your children up for a summer filled with fun, laughter, learning, and memories to last a lifetime. Register now for 1 week or the whole Summer! Register at

Camp Jamoa – Boys & Girls Club Paradise & Magalia

AGES: 6-13 years

COST: $25.00 per week

DATES: June 14-August 4

Register at

Camp Jamoa – Boys & Girls Club Hamilton City

AGES: 6-14 years

COST: $25.00 per week

DATES: June 7-August 4

Register at

FunLand/Cal Skate

FunLand Extreme Fun Summer Camps CONTACT: 530-343-1601,

AGES: 5-12

COST: weekly $195 all day (9-5) or $155 mornings (9-1)

DATES: June 12-16, 26-30, July 10-14, 24-28 August 7-11

DESCRIPTION: Fun? Check. Safe? Check. Variety? Double check! This is a chance to do everything FunLand/Cal Skate has to offer, and then some! Campers can spend the mornings or whole days doing things not normally offered to the public. Our goal is to offer days FULL of assorted activities – we can’t even list them all here! Activity examples: Skating, mini-golfing, batting, jump house, arts/crafts, arcade games, dodgeball, hockey and more!

Chico Cheer All Stars, Inc, July Summer Camps

CONTACT: 894-2227,

AGES: 6-18

COST: Camp $150-200, Afternoon “extra care” available for additional cost

DATES: July 10-13, July 17-20, July 24-27

CAMP INFO: All camps run 10am-2pm with a min. of a half hour lunch break. Please wear shorts and tank top or tee with flexible tennis shoes and bring a sack lunch. Extra care available. Please register & pay on our “Parent Portal.”

Beginners Cheer Camp: July 10-13

DESCRIPTION: If your athlete loves to cheer and tumble, then this is the camp for them! Athletes will learn basic cheerleading and a special dance to perform on the final day!

BEGINNING Tumbling Camp:

DATES: July 17-20

DESCRIPTION: If your child loves to tumble, this is the perfect camp to help them succeed. This week’s camp is for our entry level tumblers working on Level 1 (Cartwheels, Round offs, Walkovers) and Level 2 (Handspring and Round off Handsprings).

ADVANCED Tumbling Camp: July 24-27

DESCRIPTION: If your child loves to tumble and has experience, this is the perfect camp

for them! The requirement for “Advanced Tumbling Camp” is a Round Off Tuck on spring floor. This week’s camp is for our advanced level tumblers working on Level 3 (Tucks, Punch fronts, multiple handsprings) and Level 4/5 (Layouts & Fulls).

Chico Creek Dance Centre

CONTACT: Chico Creek Dance 530-893-9028 or email at

CAMP INFO: Seussical the Musical Jr.

AGES: 5-11 Monday's & Wednesday's 12-2 pm

AGES: 12-17 Tuesday's & Thursday's 2-4pm

COST:: $275

DATES: June 12-July 24 with Performances

August 4th and 5th

DESCRIPTION: Come join the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss!! An amazing summer long camp all about musical theatre. This camp is all about singing, acting, and dancing! All participants will be casted and perform.

CAMP INFO: Show Kids Dance Camp"Frozen"

AGES: 4-8

COST: $250

DATES: June 12-16 9am-12pm

DESCRIPTION: Get ready to dive into Disney's Frozen universe at Chico Creek Dance! This is a weeklong camp that will include lots of dancing, snack time, Frozen inspired crafts, a meet and greet with select Frozen characters, and a small performance at the end of the week for family and friends to see! This is a great opportunity for young children who love Frozen, dancing, and making lots of new friends! Wear comfortable clothes to dance in and jazz shoes for camp.

CAMP INFO: Pre-Dance Princess Dance Camp

AGES: 2-5

COST: $150

DATES: June 20-23 9am-11:30am

DESCRIPTION: Our Pre-Dance Princess Dance Camp is a great 4-day camp with shorter days to help introduce young children to dance and spark a passion that can last forever! This camp will be an enchanting and creative movement-based camp designed to allow young dancers an opportunity to learn to dance, act, and explore their creativity in a magical world of princesses and make believe. During this camp, your young dancer will learn a few dances, have a tea party with some princesses, and even put on a little performance for friends and families at the end of the week to showcase all that they learn!

CAMP INFO: Wizard of Oz Musical Theatre


AGES: 9-15

COST: $150

DATES: June 26-July 7 9am-12pm

DESCRIPTION: The Wizard of Oz Musical

follows a young girl named Dorothy and her dog Toto on their adventures through the magical land of Oz. This show is filled with singing, dancing, and acting. This camp will spend the two weeks learning scenes, songs, and dances from the musical. There will be a performance at the end of the second week for friends and family!

CAMP INFO: Ultimate Dance Camp"Descendants"

AGES: 7-11

COST: $250

DATES: July 17-21 9am-12pm

DESCRIPTION: Learn dances from the Disney movie series "Descendants" at this fun dance camp! This camp will include a variety of dancing styles including tap, jazz, hip-hop and more! Camp includes Descendants inspired crafts, a surprise fun day, and a small performance at the end of the week to showcase all the dances.

CAMP INFO: Sleeping Beauty Ballet Jr.


AGES: 6-11

COST: $250

DATES: July 31-August 4 10am-3pm

DESCRIPTION: Your dancer will be surrounded by the world of Classical Ballet in the story of Sleeping Beauty. Join us for this week-long intensive that focuses on classical ballet training, technique, and choreography from the Sleeping Beauty Ballet. Come ready to learn, dance and have fun! Wear a leotard, tights and ballet shoes for class and hair in a ballet bun.

Chico Racquet Club

CAMP INFO: CRC Tennis Camp

CONTACT: (530) 895-1881

AGES: 5-16

COST: $62 per day, 1 week session Member

$199/ non-member $229, 1 month Member

$699/ non-member $776 (to be used only by the week)

DATES: June 5th through Aug 18th 2023

DESCRIPTION: Camp starts at 10:30 am till 3:00pm. Campers will play tennis, break for lunch, go swimming, and then play pickleball. Please bring water, sunscreen, hat, towel, swimsuit, non-marking tennis shoes and lunch. There will be food for sale in the Pro Shop. Sign up via our website:

Chico State

Wildcat Discovery Camp at Chico State

CONTACT: or 530-898-6105

AGES: 7-16

COST: See website for four-hour session or full day options.

DATES: Schedule below.

Session 1: July 10-13

Session 2: July 17-20

Session 3: July 24-27

Session 4: July 31-August 3

Session 5: August 7-10

Session 6: August 14-17

DESCRIPTION: is a youth camp at Chico State for kids 7–16 years old and is all about discovering and exploring. Our professional staff will help your child learn a new skill, master a new craft, or follow an alreadyignited passion. Curious campers might want to learn a language, be artsy, experiment with science, learn to succeed in business, explore technology, or excel at a game of strategy. You can tailor your child’s camp experience around FUN learning and their camp schedule around your schedule with 17 à la carte options throughout the summer. Before- and after-care are also available. We look forward to welcoming your campers to Chico State this summer!

Chico Teen Center

AGES: 14-18 years

COST: $100.00 annual membership (includes Summer and school year)

DATES: June 7-August 11

DESCRIPTION: Our Teen Center program is open Monday through Friday from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. Teen Center is the most affordable summer program and provides some of the most inclusive and extensive services, including weekly themes, local field trips, college and career preparation, meals, and more. Sign your teens up for a summer filled with fun, laughter, learning, and memories to last a lifetime. More information available at

Diabetes Youth Families


Summer Camps and Year Round Retreat for families affected by type 1 diabetes.

CAMP: Kids Camp at Bearskin Meadow Camp, Sequoia National Forest, CA

AGES: 7-13

DATES: June 25 - 30

DESCRIPTION: Kids Camp offers a safe, comfortable, and fun away-from-home experience for kids with type 1 diabetes.

CAMP: Camp de los Niños at Loma Mar, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA

AGES: 7-17

DATES: July 31 – August 5

DESCRIPTION: Camp de los Niños is a fastpaced, high-energy week in the Santa Cruz Mountains for kids and teens with type 1 diabetes.

Forebay Aquatic Center Youth Summer Camp

CONTACT: forebaycamps@featherrivercenter. org or (530) 774-7934

AGES: 7-13

COST: 1/2 day (8:30-12:30) $175, Full day

(8:30-5) $275

DATES: June 12-16, 19-23, 26-30, July 10-14, 17-21, 24-28, July 31 -August 4, 7-11

DESCRIPTION: Campers learn to master crafts including kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards in a safe and exciting environment. Campers will work their way from basic terminology to skills such as selfrescue! Campers play games to learn about local wildlife, nature skills, and team building.

Kinetics Academy of Dance

CONTACT: 530-345-2505,

CAMP: Cheer & Tumble

AGES: 6-15

DATES: 6/19-6/22, 7/31-8/3

DESCRIPTION: Our cheer instructor will work with your beginner or experienced cheerleader. Learn and review the basics skills and terminology. More experienced cheerleaders can also work on the skills they want to achieve. Practice motions, jumps, tumbling, dance as well as strength and flexibility exercises. Campers will learn a cheer and a short dance to perform on the last day

CAMP: Unicorn Fairy Ballet

AGES: 4-8

DATES: 6/19-6/22, 7/30-8/3

DESCRIPTION: Let’s Dance, Dance, Dance! Join us for this crazy fun and educational camp. Dancers will enjoy moving to hits from the Trolls movies and shows while learning jazz, ballet, hip hop and navigating an obstacle course. Stories, crafts and games will ensure your campers will enjoy their adventure. We’ll even put together a final day performance for families.

CAMP: Swift and Cyrus Pop Stars

AGES: 5-15

DATES: 6/26-6/29, 8/7-8/10

DESCRIPTION: A new dance camp inspired by our favorite stars, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus! Their music will fill your day while dancing and having fun. Camp days include jazz and hip-hop technique, choreography, a craft and more. Campers will work on a little Pop Star performance to show-off on the last day. “I never miss a beat. I’m lightning on my feet”. Come “shake it off” with Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus!!

CAMP: Aerial Arts & Circus Camp

AGES: 6-16

DATES: 7/3-7/6

DESCRIPTION: Fly high at this unique circus themed camp. Learn basic aerial silk skills! Aerial silks is a type of performance in which artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from a fabric. Have fun with hula hoops, balancing skills, acrobatics and silly skits. Lots of strengthening and stretching along with crafts and games make this a great well-rounded time at the circus.

CAMP: Ballet Accelerated Intensive Training

AGES: 8-16

DATES: 7/10-7/13

DESCRIPTION: Want something a little more advanced to work on this summer? This camp will get you there. With a focus on ballet techniques, you will do full barre routines, across the floor, centers and more. Throw in some fun and games and you’ve got yourself a winner! A stunning end-ofcamp performance will be held for family and friends. Appropriate for an advanced beginner to Intermediate.

CAMP: Fairy Tale Princess & Tea Party Camp

AGES: 4-9

DATES: 7/18-7/21, 8/1-8/4

DESCRIPTION: Let the classic stories of Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella and others inspire you to move your feet to an enchanting beat! Each day will include a pre-ballet foundation class, a snack fit for a princess, story time, crafts and dances celebrating the themes of the day. The last day we’ll have a royal tea party and perform some lovely dances for the families.

Kids Outdoor Sports Camp – KOSC

CONTACT: Heather Brown, Camp Coordinator 530-513-7556,

AGES: 9-17

COST: $1,200

DATES: 5 Night/6 day Camps

Beginner Camp: June 18-23 / Advanced Camp: June 25-30 / Advanced Camp II: July 9-14 or July 23-28

DESCRIPTION: KOSC hosts camps Sunday –Friday of the weeks stated above. We will be hosting camps at two different locations in Northern California this summer! At camp, youth are educated about the outdoors, wildlife, and conservation. All beginner campers will go through Hunters Education and will receive their Hunters Ed Certification if they pass the exam at the end of the week. Campers will receive hands on training from our first class instructors on how to safely and successfully shoot shotguns, rifles, and archery, and they will even learn how to fish! If your child already has their HE certificate, they can attend our advanced camp; where they will receive more advanced training in all areas listed above. For those who have attended Advanced Camp, we are offering for the first time, Advanced Camp II that will teach wilderness camping, how to build blinds, navigate with a compass, and much more!

Mobile First Response Child and Babysitting Safety

CONTACT: Jessica Wilhelm, Jessica@


COST: $75 per person

DATES: Visit website for dates and times.

DESCRIPTION: The new Child and Babysitting Safety (CABS) program from MEDIC First Aid gives teenagers and young adults everything they need to know for safe and successful babysitting. From getting started with their business, to dealing with parents and children, to key safety, caregiving, and first aid tips, the magazine-format CABS guide and vlogger-style video make learning fun. This class is ideal for teens and interested in a babysitting business, or who have responsibility for younger family members.

Valene Smith Museum of Anthropology

Museum Camp

CONTACT: 530-898-5397,

AGES: 5-11

COST: $150 per week or $280 for both

DATES: July 17-20, 24-27

DESCRIPTION: Travel the World without Leaving Home! Summer Camp at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology encourages creative activities to learn about other people, places, and periods worldwide. Each day our expert teachers and college student aides provide daily adventures with local guests, stories, experiments, or art projects to bring the topic to life.

Week 1: Campers will marvel at the subterranean tunnel that welcomes them into the Main Gallery and the secret world beneath our feet. Campers will find out how fossils get made, that we live near a volcano, and how to use soil for painting, tattoos, and tie-dye art. This camp offers immersive, interactive experiences to discover the art and science of soil.

Activities Include Tie Dye, Volcanos, Rocks, Tattoos, Ancient Writing, Fungi & more.

Week 2: Everyone loves a good story and movie. Against the backdrop of the North Gallery’s new Film Tourism exhibit, campers will explore the magic and stories that connect us to different worlds, both real and imagined. Campers will see snippets of movies that link us to activities and handson projects. Grab a friend and step into the fandom and fun that the silver screen creates for everyone.


Get Out, Get Active, Get Muddy!

Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes all the opportunity for outdoor family fun and activities. One of the best ways to kick off the summer season is by participating in the Lord’s Gym Kids Mud Run. Located in Oroville, the Kids Mud Run is an annual FREE event for children ages 4-17 and their families. With over a mile of mud, 22 challenging obstacles, three separate age-based course trails, and family heats—where parents and children run the course together—there is plenty of muddy fun to go around!

Started in 2016, the Kids Mud Run is organized by the Lord's Gym Oroville, which is a non-profit, volunteer-run gym dedicated to enhancing the well-being of Oroville and neighboring communities in Butte County. To that end, the Kids Mud Run was designed with the goal of empowering children to overcome challenges and inspiring a positive self-image for every participant. The course started off small with only 183 participants the first year and has grown to an event that attracted over 2,900 runners in 2022.

This FREE Kids Mud Run draws families from across the Northstate, capturing children's love for running, climbing, and getting muddy. The course is designed to be challenging, but also accessible for all skill levels. Both seasoned runners and beginners will find something to enjoy as they run through mud pits and over climbable obstacles. Some of the runners' favorite obstacles include: Nothing But Net (a 20-foot tall climbable net), Daytona (a tireclimbing obstacle with a mud tunnel on one side), and the Shriveller (a cold-water plunge right before the runners reach the finish


line). This year, the course is being expanded to include two-to-three water obstacles that were fan favorites in the adult version of the Mud Run, which Lord’s Gym ran from 2014 to 2018.

In addition to the mud run itself, there are a variety of other activities and attractions to enjoy, such as the Superhero School Bell and Mudfest. The Superhero School Bell program encourages kids to dress up in school colors, or as their favorite superhero, to run the race and earn points for their school. The local school that has the greatest participation is rewarded with a trophy and FREE frozen yogurt from Yoville Yogurt in Oroville. Mudfest includes attractions at the Kids Mud Run, such as fun-filled inflatables, bounce houses, and a custom-built sled hill. Families can also sign up to participate in family games like a three-legged race, hot dog eating contest, or talent show. From obstacle courses to minute-to-win-it games, there's something for everyone.

If you're interested in participating, be sure to register early to reserve your spot. This is a popular event, and heats can fill up quickly. Overall, the Lord's Gym Kids Mud Run is a fantastic way to get outside, get active, and have some fun as a family. Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity!

Interested families and parents can sign their children up to run at The last day to sign up is May 30, 2023. If you would like to help the Lord’s Gym put on this amazing event for the children of Butte County either by volunteering or sponsoring the event, please contact the Mud Run team at


Lions, and Llamas, and Goats! Oh, My!

There’s something about spending time with animals that helps to ground and reconnect us. It helps pull our children and ourselves out of that often far too comfortable space that centers around digital screens of all shapes and sizes. Butte County is home to some amazing places that offer all types of opportunities to interact and learn about the furry, feathered, and scaly creatures with whom we share this planet.

Conner Farm Co. in Durham is a sweet spot to start your adventures. The educational experience the kids get when they visit is Jullisa Conner’s favorite part of hosting a petting farm. “The younger generation is focused on indoor stuff and electronics, and

being out here and getting dirty is a positive thing for kids. Clothes are washable. Hands are washable. So get muddy, get dirty, and learn about how to take care of the animals.” So many children are really disconnected from where our food comes from, so getting to see a cow or goat milked, collecting chicken eggs from the nest boxes, or picking peaches off the tree really engages and enlightens them. Jullisa and her husband Mikel’s animal menagerie began when Jullissa bought her first five chicks and started raising them. These five eventually turned into the 70 that now free range over their 10-acre farm. Jullisa focuses on the breeds that lay beautiful green, speckled, and even pinkish eggs. After the

chickens, it made sense to add a few ducks to the mix. They also have Nigerian Dwarf goats, with twins born in April, a one-yearold Jersey cow named Milkshake, and a twenty-four-year-old Tennessee Walking horse. The cost for coming out for a private tour is $10/person, and you can arrange that with Jullisa through the Conner Farm Co. Facebook page. They also host birthday parties, field trips, and special events. They are even looking to expand into date nights on the farm to share a little of their magical evenings with the community.

The next spot on your animal adventure calendar should be the Two By Two Ranch & Petting Zoo. Owner Tina Cardin started


the ranch over twenty years ago while attending Chico State. She runs it along with her daughter, Julia, who is currently attending CSU and working on her animal science degree. They offer educational farm tours that you can book Monday through Friday costing $50 for up to 10 people. If you’re looking for something on the weekends, they offer a private tour for up to 10 people for $100. “Things are always busy and changing on the farm, so you may get to see brand new animals or help us bottle feed babies.” The ranch has so many different types of animals for little ones to see including an emu, rabbits, goats, sheep, miniature horses, and even a donkey. There’s no shortage of things to see and do at the ranch. Typical tours last an hour and whoever is guiding the tour will share insights about the various animals on the farm while answering any questions you or your children have during the visit. The spring rains bring lots of muddy puddles, so be sure to check in and see if they’ve dried up enough for tours. They also offer Goat Grams, 30 minutes of personally delivered baby goat cuddles that will make anyone’s day better. You can reach them at 530-570-7143, message them on Facebook at Two by Two Ranch & Petting Zoo, or on the web at for more information on all their animal experiences.

If you’re looking to spend some one-onone time with a great pack animal, check out Happy Homestead Llamas. Steven McFarland, an avid outdoorsman and hunter, got involved with llamas when he grew tired of carrying his 180-pound pack while hiking. As his family grew, the number of supplies they carried grew as well, and they began looking for pack animals to help lighten the load. After much research on goats, ponies, and donkeys, he came across several articles on using llamas as pack animals. He and his family visited a ranch in Sonora where they were able to spend some time saddling and walking several of these animals. Steven thought, “You know what, this is pretty cool. I think we like this.” They bought their first two llamas that day and now have added three more. The McFarlands wanted to share their love of llamas with the community and started offering guided day hikes in Upper Bidwell Park. Partnering with Nic’s of Paradise, they provide charcuterie boards and refreshments along with their


llamas for everything you need to spend a carefree day outdoors. These hikes are only offered February through April in Bidwell because, after that, the heat becomes too extreme for an enjoyable time. However, if you and your family are interested in hiking with llamas in the summer, you can still do that. After attending a llama orientation class, you can rent your own pack llama. Once you’ve hiked with a llama, you’ll be happy to discover how easily they become part of your ‘herd’ and how family-friendly they can be. Happy Homestead will provide a trailer if you don’t have one capable of transporting your new hiking friends. Steven says that there are some great trails to use during the hotter summer months at Buck’s Lake, Butte Meadows, and the Jonesville area. They are one of only two llama rental ranches in California and continue to grow and expand their offerings. Steven shares that hikers are often surprised by the llama’s quirkiness. What’s that humming sound? It’s the way they communicate. Who doesn’t love hearing their hiking buddy singing along the trail? Check out their website at or on Instagram at @Happy_ Homestead_Paradise and find your perfect humming hiking partner.

Maybe your little ones are hoping to see something a little wilder than what’s wandering on the ranches and farms. Head down to the Barry Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary at 4995 Durham-Pentz Rd in Oroville and help out a local non-profit that's been around for almost 30 years. The center is equal parts wildlife sanctuary, educational park, and research center. Some of the animals you’ll be able to see and learn about include mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, tigers, lions, ligers, leopards, and many more. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and no appointment is needed if you want to explore on your own. However, they do ask for reservations if you’re interested in joining one of their guided tours led by a wildlife interpreter. The guides have so much information to share about all the animals and can answer any questions you may have about them; including when they arrived, what kinds of enrichment programs each one favors, and what their status is in the wild. Additional information about visiting along with a listing of their resident animals can be found on their website at

Butte county offers a bounty of places to get out and explore our world; go collect some eggs, milk a cow, hike with a llama, and linger with lions as you and your family reconnect and enjoy our special space here in Northern California.

Ages 11-17

Ages 11-17

Ages 11-17

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Getting Your Child Ready for an Eye Exam

Many parents wonder when their child needs to have an eye exam. That is a great question!

The good news for parents is that a basic eye exam is part of every well-child visit with the pediatrician or family-medicine doctor. These primary health care providers are trained to evaluate the visual function and external structures of the eye from the very first newborn visit and continuing on throughout childhood. Starting around 6 months of age, the alignment and movement of the eyes are evaluated. Often at 12 months of age, photoscreening devices are used to screen for large refractive errors (glasses prescriptions) that

could negatively impact a child learning to see. As soon as a child is able to read an eye chart (usually between 3 and 5 years old), vision testing can be added to the assessment. Vision testing continues in the school system.

Primary care providers and school nurses utilize the basic, screening eye exam to identify children who would benefit from a comprehensive eye exam with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. If your child has failed a vision screening exam, it is important to schedule a complete, dilated eye exam with an eye care professional.

In addition to a failed vision screening,

there are several other reasons that a comprehensive eye exam may be needed. It is recommended that your child see an ophthalmologist if he/she:

• Has a medical problem that could affect their eyes such as Down syndrome, a history of prematurity, neurofibromatosis, or juvenile idiopathic arthritis

• Has a family history of eye disease, such as a sibling or parent with amblyopia or strabismus

• Has a learning disability, developmental delay, or neuropsychological condition


605 Mangrove Ave.

• Has a vision complaint or observed abnormal visual behavior

• Has eye discomfort, redness, or headaches

Now that your child is scheduled for an eye exam, you may be wondering what to expect during the exam–another great question!

Comprehensive eye exams in children involve assessments of the child’s vision, eye movements, and depth perception, as well as the external and internal structures of the eye. Your child’s refractive error (glasses prescription) will also be measured. The exam requires dilation of the pupils to see the eye structures fully and to obtain accurate measurements. In order to complete all components of the exam (including a minimum of 30 minutes for the dilating drops to take effect), you may be at the doctor’s office for up to two hours. It is important to plan your child’s appointment during the time of day that will be best for them.

Pediatric eye care professionals and their staff understand that a complete eye exam may seem scary to children, and they strive to help families feel as comfortable as possible while in the office.

Often, you will start by meeting with the ophthalmologist’s assistant (technician) who will ask questions about your child and your concerns. Following this, your child’s visual function and eye movements will be assessed. These assessments are done differently, depending on your child’s age and development. Sometimes, the ophthalmologist will evaluate your child prior to placement of dilation drops, but often these are placed by the technician prior to seeing the doctor. Once your child is dilated, the doctor will evaluate the structures of your child’s eyes and measure the refractive error (glasses prescription). The doctor will then share the results of the comprehensive eye exam and provide a glasses prescription, if indicated.

After the exam, your child’s eyes may remain dilated for the remainder of the day. Thankfully, symptoms of light sensitivity and blurry vision usually wear off after a few hours. Also, children can wear sunglasses or a hat for comfort while their eyes return to normal, but these are not required. While it is safe and encouraged for children to return to school or daycare even when their eyes are dilated, it is recommended to inform teachers and caregivers that your child may have difficulty with near vision or want to stay inside for a few hours following the exam.


Care for All Children, All the Time

The words above are not simply a “catchy title,” they are a quote from Karen Marlatt, CEO of Valley Oak Children’s Services (VOCS), who has served the needs of children for over 30 years, 17 of which have been at VOCS. Karen’s long dedication to the success of children and families started in Colusa where she experienced firsthand what it was like to raise children and fully support them. Her son was a special needs child who benefited from support services and has grown into a successful and productive adult. Oftentimes, it takes personal experience to motivate someone into entering the world of family support services.

Alex Reynaga, VOCS’ marketing and development manager for the past two years, came from a large family of public servants. Growing up, he learned the importance of helping families not only in

financial ways but also by providing social and emotional support.

VOCS is located at 3120 Cohasset Road, Suite 6, in Chico. It’s an easy place to miss as you head out toward the airport because it is set back from the road, down a short lane, and surrounded by trees. Just driving up to the offices gives a person a type of earthy comfort with the overhanging green trees, deep shade, and well-kept lawns.

What exactly is Valley Oak Children’s Services? VOCS is a dynamic organization focusing on raising healthy children, families, and a thriving community. They have a wide variety of services based on the needs of the valley community. VOCS was founded in 1980 as a private, non-profit organization serving the needs of children in Butte County.

The establishment of agencies like VOCS throughout California proved valuable in a number of ways. Childcare businesses were multiplying to serve the needs of working parents, who received assistance finding reliable, safe childcare. Community businesses could grow and thrive because they could count on a working population who could be at work every day due to their children being in childcare facilities.

Of course, VOCS needs funding to make all this happen, and funding comes from many sources, both private and governmental. This ensures low-income parents will be able to keep their children in daycare so they can work, go to school, or enter training programs; all of this leads to selfsufficiency and better communities.

A family of four in the Chico area can have an income of $80,000 a year and still be


considered low income because of the cost of rent, food prices, and inflation. Having childcare provided can help families not only make ends meet but make the difference in being self-sufficient and financially stable. This means an organization like VOCS is vital to local children and their families.

Karen Marlatt emphasized two words to help define VOCS: Holistic Support. It’s not just with financial assistance through childcare that VOCS helps families, it is a plethora of other services too. First is the Alternative Payment Program (CAPP). This is the initial step in qualifying for support services. The family calls for services and VOCS determines eligibility by applying the CAPP enrollment list guidelines, family size, and income. The staff then confirms eligibility and an in-person appointment is made. This will then determine the appropriate amount of assistance for each family.

Once accepted, a family can enter the Family Atmosphere Care with Enhanced Services network. FACES was developed to support and assist qualified, licensed family childcare providers in achieving the desired results for the families they serve. VOCS currently has 67 licensed providers that participate in the program and provide services for infants and toddlers. The FACES program specializes in the development of the whole child. The goal is to provide quality childcare services so children can reach their full potential.

A very beneficial VOCS element is the Early Head Start Program which focuses on ages 0-4. This program gives comprehensive full-day and full-year high-quality services to infants and toddlers in the following areas: education, family services, parent involvement, health and disabilities, nutrition, medical/dental, and mental health. “Many people don’t understand that when a child is getting kicked out of daycare at three years old, there's a big problem,” said Marlatt. “If you address the needs of a child that young from an early stage, you can avoid problems down the road.”

Another special service VOCS offers is their Lending Library, which provides a wide variety of resource materials such as books, toys, and small play equipment. These can be checked out by any member of the community. It’s great if your kids are bored, you have a birthday party coming up, or if the grandkids are coming over to spend the weekend. You can check out what the lending library has to offer on the VOCS website and remember, all of this is at no cost to the public.

VOCS provides a multitude of services to the Butte County area. Currently, the staff has grown to 42 members with a budget of $20 million. 82.5% of that goes directly back into the community. VOCS invested over 10 million back into the local economy last year in just childcare services, and they received only 17% in the form of salaries, rent, and utilities.

For a wealth of additional information, you can visit the VOCS website at Here, you can find out how to donate and what specific items you can choose for donations. Valley Oak Children’s Services is a phenomenal organization dedicated to the well-being of our local children and families, and we couldn’t be more thankful for the work they do in our community.


Check out all of the great things we have to look forward to this summer! Please note that dates and times are subject to change. For more events, please see our summer camp feature on page 14.

5/4 - 5/5 Keeping Dance Alive @ 7-10pm

NCUSD Center for the Arts, PV High School Campus, 1474 East Ave., Chico

Come celebrate local arts, artists and performers who bring enriching educational experiences to all ages!

Presented by the Chico Ballet Company, Keeping Dance Alive is a community tradition. Cost: $20

5/4 - 5/7 The Wizard of Oz

Where: Laxson Auditorium

Join Chico State Music and Theater for their spring musical! Based on the classic motion picture and adapted for the stage by John Kane, The Wizard of Oz is the same story you’ve always loved.

Time: 2PM Saturday and Sunday and 7:30PM Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Cost: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $8 youth and CSU, Chico students

5/6 May Fair @ 10am-1pm Blue Oak Charter School, 450 W East Ave., Chico

Celebrate the arrival of spring and connect with your Chico community at the May Faire hosted by Blue Oak Charter School. Enjoy a variety of activities including face-painting, free crafts for the kids, music and dance performances, food and craft vendors, and the iconic children's maypole dance. Cost: Free

5/6 Wildflower Music Festival @ 2-8pm

2500 Estes Ave., Chico

The 9th Wildflower Music Festival is a day of fun for the whole family that includes a kid's area with free activities, bounce houses, and crafts; food vendors for lunch, snacks, dinner, and dessert; and a silent auction with over 100 items to bid on. Come listen and dance to the best music Chico has to offer! All proceeds go to support Wildflower Open Classroom K-8 school. Cost: $55

5/7 Band on the Run 5k @ 9am

Where: Lower Bidwell Park, Chico

Join the Pleasant Valley High School

Boosters for the 1st annual Band on the Run virtual 5k, a scenic walk/run/march through beautiful Lower Bidwell Park or wherever you want to run it! Proceeds will benefit the PVHS band, choir, and color guard. Cost: $35

5/13 Paradise Chocolate Fest @ 10am-5pm

Terry Ashe Park, Paradise

Celebrating 18 years of "Sweetening Kids Lives"! Since its inception in 2006, Paradise Chocolate Fest has contributed over $390,000 to youth programs and services on the Paradise Ridge. Cost: Free

5/25-29 Silver Dollar Fair @ 10am-10pm Silver Dollar Fair Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, 2357 Fair St., Chico Rides, food, games, art projects, live music, livestock—the Silver Dollar Fair has it all!

6/3 Paradise Police and Fire Station Open House @ 10am-2pm

All families are invited to participate in this fun and free local event for children of all ages! Cost: Free

6/3 National Trail Stewardship Day Paradise Lake

Meet at Paradise Lake to reconnect with nature while you get your hands a little dirty helping clean up beautiful trails. Time: 8AM to 12PM Cost: Free

6/10 Neverland @ 5:30pm

CUSD Center for the Arts at PV High School

A show for the whole family that will be a highlight of your summer. Based on J.M Barrie’s classic tale. Cost: $12-$18

6/24 Ariel’s Mermaid Shellabration 1950 E 20th St., Chico Swim on over for a mermaid tea party!

Princess Ariel invites you to a magical morning under the sea! Tickets include an hour with princess, tea, snacks, story time, sing-along, games and picture time.

Time: 10-11AM. Cost: $10-$35

6/24 Ariel’s Mermaid Shellabration 1950 E 20th St., Chico

Swim on over for a mermaid tea party!

Princess Ariel invites you to a magical morning under the sea! Tickets include an hour with princess, tea, snacks, story time, sing-along, games and picture time.

Time: 10-11AM. Cost: $10-$35

6/24 Party at the Pool @ 8-11pm

5600 Recreation Drive, Paradise

An outdoor movie event and fundraiser for the Paradise swimming community. See Finding Dory on a 30-foot screen while floating in the pool!

6/26-29 Ninja Fun Summer Camp @ 12pm Kinetics Academy of Dance

This camp is designed specifically for young kids who love to swing, climb and jump. We’ll guide them through learning a new obstacle course each day. Campers will practice strength, balancing and endurance exercises. With crafts, games and open gym time your kiddo will stay busy and get plenty of exercise! Cost: $145, ages 4-8

7/4 - 7/8 Flowers & Worms Camp

Dorothy F Johnson Center Toddler Room

Participants will learn about different types of flowers and bugs, as well as get to dig, plant, and water their own gardens.

Time: 8AM to 12:15PM

Cost: $163, ages 3-5

7/10-7/14 Youth Aquatic Camp

Forebay Aquatic Center, Oroville

Come spend your summer on the lake with a focus on boating and water education. Learn to master kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards as well as skills and team building. Half day or full day

Cost: $175-$275

3131 For curious kids aged 7-16 who want to learn and have fun Weekly half- & full-day camps, July 10-August 17 Convient for parents Awesome for kids! Register Today!
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