Graduation season has come to a close and once again, we find the heat nestling in, marking the start of our long Arizona summer.

With kids out of school, and out of planned activities to fill the hours, parents are left with the task of finding things to do for both their kids and themselves.

Ahwatukee Foothills has always offered a broad range of summer programs for children and adults. Groups such as American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), Polar Ice and Tempe Union High School District regularly offer sporting leagues and clinics to keep student athletes in shape and kids active through the summer months.

It is common to associate the idea of summer programs with sports, as they tend to be the most popular among children and parents alike.

For the people who are interested, and enroll in sports leagues or physical fitness programs, the benefits are great.

If in the past your child, or yourself, have not been highly stimulated by sporting programs in the summer, there are a multitude of resources at your disposal that focus outside of sports.

Local high schools offer workshops throughout the summer geared toward children who are involved in theater and music, and who express an interest in writing.

They are specifically designed to progress the child’s inclination toward a certain subject, and fill their time in a productive way that satisfies their interests.

Ahwatukee community centers also offer programs year-round in the fields of photography, dance, pottery, foreign language and babysitting clinics in order to offer your children productive opportunities for the long summer haul.

For summer 2011, the liberal arts program schedule offersan array of subjects, from a multitude of sources. Desert Vista High School’s summer academy and the Pecos Community Center, for example, are offering two prominent programs.

The summer academy at Desert Vista High School offers a Speech, Theater and Debate Camp for children in sixth through eighth grades from June 20 to July 8, and the flier for the camp expresses the opportunity to experience: “Public speaking, acting, research, debate, logic and rhetoric, interpersonal communication and teamwork skills — all necessary for success in high school, college and beyond.”

The camp teaches skills, which are important facets of a person’s development, and, more specifically, are important parts of social evolution. In addition to the social benefits, the camp engages kids with these subjects in a manner suited to their interests.

Another good option for programs of this nature is the Pecos Community Center, which is offering a broad range of classes at varying times and lengths throughout the summer.

Both youth and adult classes are available, and the broad range of choices makes it a good candidate for having a class that interests you or your child. Subjects include: Dance, music, CPR certification, Spanish, babysitter certification and painting. Classes are instructed by trained staff members at the community center, and are a great way to keep busy during summer while being involved in a healthy, productive environment.

The opportunity this summer for liberal arts programs is not limited to these two sources, however.

Local schools, community centers and libraries are great resources to find a program that fits the interests of your child. They provide an environment that harbors the specific likes of a child, and the opportunity to improve the skill of their craft.

It is not too late to register for a majority of the programs still available, and it is a great way to get out of the house and be a part of something you have a passion for.

• Andrew Waterhouse is a senior at Arizona State University. Reach him at


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