Learning, after hours

Community Education classes offer opportunities for all ages

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Washougal Community Education & Recreation

4855 Evergreen Way

954-3040

www.washougal.k12.wa.us/wcer

Camas Community Education

841 N.E. 22nd Ave.

833-5544

www.camascommunityed.org

Camas Parks & Recreation

227 NE Lake Road

834-5307

www.ci.camas.wa.us/index.php/parkshome

For many people, the new year is a time to take stock, and evaluate their health, fitness and overall activity levels.

Those looking to explore their creative side, get fit, or learn a new skill have opportunities to learn from local experts through a community education class.

Operated by the Camas and Washougal school districts, the community education programs are tuition-based and self-supporting. Financial support comes from class fees.

Class topics range from coding for kids and after school indoor soccer, to adult sports, online classes and courses in Chinese.

“Community education is dedicated to the idea that the school is the center of the community,” said Kathy Douglas-Evans, Washougal class coordinator. “Our doors remain open during ‘non traditional,’ hours to offer educational and recreational opportunities that will enrich the lives of people, both personally and professionally.”

New Washougal classes this winter include Safe on My Own, indoor soccer, and combination dance.

Safe on My Own is for children ages 8 to 11 who have a working parent, or may want to stay home for an hour alone.

Indoor soccer is for children in first- through fifth-grade who want to develop their skills in a team atmosphere. It includes drills and games.

“Whether rain or shine, kids can enjoy an indoor sport,” Douglas-Evans said. “Our instructors are very dedicated, and experienced in their area of expertise.”

Popular returning classes include ballroom dance, early release Wednesday Mad Science, Parents Nights Out, baseball clinics and co-ed flag football.

In ballroom dancing, adult participants can learn everything from rhumba to salsa.

“Our instructor was one of the top competitors in the country, and has over 40 years of experience training championship ballroom dancers,” Douglas noted.

She added that the instructor lives in Washougal, and wanted to give back to his community by teaching the class.

“If you have ever wanted to learn to ballroom dance, this is a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “Students do not need any experience or a partner.”

Douglas-Evans typically offers classes based on participant feedback and the number of returning students.

Tae Kwon Do classes offer opportunities for beginners to black belt. Often, parents and children attend together.

Adult advanced Spanish class includes many returning students, as well as advanced volleyball.

“I really want to thank those who support community education and choose to take our classes,” Douglas-Evans said.

Camas Community Education’s theme is “Enrich Your Life,” and includes a wide array of choices in which to do just that.

A new class being offered this winter is Spanish through Story Telling for middle school students, where attendees learn to listen, read, write and speak Spanish while listening to stories.

Another new course. “Why They Worry,” is for parents of elementary school students who are experiencing stress and worries. It is taught by family therapist, Jennifer McMillian.

Other “fairly new,” courses include Elementary Science Olympiad for students in kindergarten through fifth-grade, taught by the Camas High School Science Olympiad students.

There is also a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) class for girls in fifth- through eighth-grade.

Returning favorites include Art Van Go, Coding for Kids, Dress/Skirt Design, True Reflections, Safe on My Own and Safe Sitter, according to Karen Rudolf, community education class coordinator.

“We often hear people make comments about how happy they are that we offer a variety of quality classes that are fun for their kids,” she said. “Sometimes, they have a hard time choosing between classes.”

Rudolf noted that what makes for a good community education class is a kind instructor who gets along with kids.

“You can teach a child almost anything as long as they are with a teacher who enjoys being around kids and makes the class fun and interesting,” she said. “Taking an after school class or camp is a great way to learn a new skill or increase an already learned talent. It is also a good opportunity to meet new people.”