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Get the Kids Outdoors

The final school bell has rung … and moms and dads everywhere are scrambling to figure out how to keep the kids active and entertained for the next several months. But parents, take heart — the Youth and Family in the Outdoors (YO!) program, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), may have just the ticket to get your kids off the computer and out the door this summer and enjoy some fishing in California.

“It’s amazing how many outdoor opportunities are available to kids in every corner of the state,” said DFG Director Charlton H. Bonham. “From fishing lessons to guided nature tours, each of these events serves to encourage a deeper understanding of our state’s natural resources.”

YO! maintains a calendar of kid-friendly summer events around the state, including those sponsored by organizations and nonprofits unaffiliated with DFG. To find the perfect summer opportunity for your child, please check out the events on the calendar at www.dfg.ca.gov/yo/. Just a few of the opportunities currently listed include:

â–ª Tehama County: Kids Outdoor Sports Camp, various dates in June and July. Kids age 10 and up spend a week gaining a variety of fishing, conservation and hunting skills emphasizing safe firearms handling. For more information, please visit www.mykosc.org.

â–ª Butte County: Chico Creek Nature Center, “Creepy Crawly Slimy Slithers,” various dates in June and August. This one-week camp for kids ages 5 to 11 includes short nature walks, lab activities and swimming in Big Chico Creek. For more information, please call (530) 891-4671 or visit www.bidwellpark.org.

â–ª San Joaquin County: Youth Waterfowl Hunter Camp, various dates. Kids ages 10 to 16 will learn conservation principles and hunter education. For more information, please visit www.calwaterfowl.org.

â–ª San Mateo County: San Carlos Library, Summer Reading Party with Wild Things, Inc. on June 19. Kick off the summer with wildlife education and a chance to meet some real wild animals. For ages 3 and up. For more information, please visit www.smcl.org.

â–ª Fresno County: Fresno Chaffee Zoo, “Young Naturalist: Junior Marine Biologist” field trip for kids ages 11 to 17, June 25-29. Explore the ocean with a special focus on seals and sea lions. Learn about needs of these unique animals and their new zoo home at Seal Lion Cove. For more information, please visit www.fresnochaffeezoo.org.

â–ª Los Angeles County: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, “Marine Science Hi” program for teens in ninth through 12th grades. Participants will study oceanography, marine biology and field research methods with daily trips to the Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park. For more information, please visit www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org.

â–ª Riverside County: Turtle and Tortoise Celebration at Louis Robidoux Nature Center, June 30. Spend an exciting day at the Nature Center meeting and learning about different turtles and tortoises, and take a self-guided nature walk. Pet turtles and tortoises welcome. For more information, please visit www.rivcoparks.org/education/hiddenvalley/calendar.

â–ª Various locations: American Red Cross’s First Aid and CPR training. Enjoy the outdoors by being properly prepared — a must for outdoor enthusiasts (many other classes are also available). For more information, please visit redcrosscrc.org.

The calendar will be updated regularly so please check back throughout the summer months. YO! is a collaborative effort between DFGand a number of outdoors-oriented foundations and organizations around the state. Its purpose is to facilitate the conservation, enhancement and restoration of our fish and wildlife and habitats through the education and participation of our youth in California’s outdoor heritage. If you know of a youth-friendly outdoor event that is not listed on the calendar, please contact YO! at 916-322-8933.