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Knowing childhood summers are often remembered as seasons of adventure, unbridled creativity, and occasions to meet new friends, local groups and nonprofits offer a variety of summer camps for kids in Kittitas County.

Options include sports, horse riding, dance, music, art and more.

Gallery One’s summer offerings include two returning favorites (art exploration and printmaking), but the upcoming schedule is mostly new. Becky Parmenter, the gallery’s youth education coordinator and instructor, said she can’t wait to put some of the material she gleaned through education classes from the Seattle Arts Commission into practice. There are endless avenues for artistic expression, she said, and the summer camps give kids the opportunity to touch on some of them.

As examples, students can learn about surrealist artist Chuck Close, mixed media, ceramics or maps and illustration.

Parmenter said each camp session has an entirely different feel, though they’re all inspiring. She said that there are several “anonymous and very generous” community members who help offset costs and make the summer-long sessions possible.

Through each session Parmenter said she enjoys watching students — some of whom have never met — begin the week not quite certain of each other or of what the camp entails. But before the second day, the students tend to find a rhythm and learn to work with each other. “Their collaboration is really fun to see,” she said. “Often times they act like siblings by week’s end, and that’s really awesome.”

Parmenter also treasures watching students display a special piece at the end of camp on Fridays. Their pride of accomplishment is evident as family and friends arrive at a reception, ready to see a sampling of what they’ve learned to accomplish through summer art camp.

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