Our Laguna: Students can beat summer boredom

"No more pencils, no more books

No More Teachers' dirty looks"

It's the anthem sang by generations of school children at the end of the academic year, welcoming the long unstructured days of summer — followed shortly thereafter by, "There's nothing to do. I'm bored."

When those summer doldrums hit, savvy Laguna parents should reach for the Community Services brochure of activities.

"We have the advantage of having beach-related activities that other cities don't," said Susan Cannan, director of Community Services since 2006.

"Kids often go from one class to another. We have a lot of multi-activity kids in this town."

Summer activities are primarily outdoors, Cannan said.

One of the most popular classes is the junior guards, but participants have to register early. Something to think about next year.

The program had 480 kids registered this summer in the two sessions for ages 8 to 15.

Laguna Beach residents or those who live within the Laguna Beach Unified School District boundaries or attend Laguna Beach schools get first crack at registration, then it opens to returning non-residents and newcomers.

"Swim classes have the most participation, but we continually try to update classes to meet the demands of the community," Cannan said. "We try to keep it diverse in terms of what we offer as well as suiting them to different age groups."

Adam Gufarotti manages the Community Pool for the city.

Children's swim classes range from Parent & Me for children from 6 months to 3 years old and a parent to Laguna Beach Swim Team for advanced swimmers from 7 to 15 years old.

A Guard Start class for 7 to 12 year olds was added this year to the Aquatics Program. New sessions of 10 classes each will start Aug. 9 and 23. Each session costs $50.

A series of eight Swim Team Prep classes for kids from 4 to 7 years old is scheduled for Aug. 2 to 25 and for swimmers 8 and older from Aug. 3 to 26, coached by the Community Pool staff. Cost for both series is $56.

Laguna Beach Swim Team participants are trained by Laguna Beach High School varsity swim Coach Karl Johnson. The cost is $88 per month, $50 for a sibling. A new series will start Aug. 2.

"We continue to strengthen our connection to the high school and work with the coaches to offer camps for high-school aged participants and youth development — a lot of them year-round," Cannan said. "That has really expanded. We have volleyball and water polo camps and, of course, tennis camps.

"Garry Glaub and Julie Heussenstamm, who both grew up here, have been teaching tennis for more than 15 years."

Cannan will be losing two senior recreation supervisors July 30 when Ron Lutz and Suzanne Shaw retire.

"We are going to miss them and their experience," Cannan said. "They have developed many of the programs."

Lutz has been employed by the city part- and full-time for 40 years. Shaw has been with the city for 30 years.

"Suzanne would always listen to ideas for new classes," said Lynne Biscieglia, community services administrative secretary for 14 years. "Some worked. Some didn't, but she was willing to try them."

Tom Toman and Kristin Buhagiar will be moving from other departments to fill the vacancies.

Toman, who will be transferring from Public Works, was a college basketball player.

"Kristin was in Marine Safety, so this is a natural transition for her," Cannan said.

But not all classes are outdoors.

"The biggest change in Community Services was the opening of the Community/Senior Center on Third Street," Cannan said.

"Now we have a real art studio and two specially designed dance studios with sprung floors and classrooms in a central location," Cannan said.

The Kyne Dance Academy offers classes at the center in ballet and pointe; combo ballet, tap and hippityhop; combo jazz and hip hop; hip hop for boys only; and tap. New sessions are set to begin Aug. 5 in the dance studios at the center. Sessions are $55.

Pauline Kyne and her daughter, Lisa, teach classes for children and adults from beginners to advanced.

Dancewear is required: pink for pre-and kindergartners, black leotards and pink tights for ballet, black dancewear for the other classes. Girls in the ballet classes must have their hair in buns. Hair in other classes must be secured off the face and neck.

Shoes styles are geared to the classes, but no dance sneakers are allowed.

Art Masters Pastel Camp, a new class for children 6 to 12 years old will be from Aug. 6 to Sept. 1 in the art room at the center.

Participants will use pastels to replicate works by artists such as Henri Matisse's "Goldfish" and Van Gogh's "Starry Night." Participants are advised to wear an old T-shirt or an art smock.

The four classes from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays will cost $119, including materials.

"But we still use Lang Park and other locations," Cannan said.

Sunshine, Smiles and Spanish is at the park. The class, for children ages 4 to 7, was designed by two bilingual, credentialed kindergarten teachers. Students play, sing, create art and dance while painlessly learning Spanish. The cost is $126 for the four-day camp and $20 for art supplies.

Foundations Camps are also new. The tennis camps for ages 10 to 16 include a tournament, which Glaub believes is a necessary experience for players who plan to complete in high school.

Glaub, a former collegiate competitor, has coached in Laguna for 20 years.

The camps are taught at the Mouton Meadows Park tennis courts, six students to one instructor. The four-day camps begin Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 and cost $240.

Ice skating camps are taught at Aliso Viejo Ice Palace. New five-day camps for kids 4 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 15 will begin Aug. 16. The cost is $85, skate rental and a free practice session on a lesson day included.

Classes listed in the Summer Community Services brochure can be cancelled at the discretion of the instructors if no one or too few participants sign up, so it behooves parents interested in a certain class to get their children enrolled.

"It's up to the teacher," Biscieglia said. "Sometimes they will continue the class with just a couple of kids. The first session of Sunshine, Smiles and Spanish had two enrolled. The session that begins Monday has 19 enrolled."

Besides the classes offered by the city, children also are offered activities at Laguna's three art festivals, surf shops and the Laguna Beach Library.

For more information about city classes or to enroll, visit http://www.lagunabeachcity.net.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, 92652; call (949) 380-4321 or e-mail coastlinepilot@latimes.com.

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