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Summer Shark: What to do this summer

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By Lindsay Edmunds

The temperature is rising and summer activities are heating up accordingly! There are numerous activities planned throughout the summer for Cedar Key youth, some located here on the island and others in surrounding areas.

To start with, the Cedar Key Youth Summer Program began on June 23, and is open for any youth ages 6 to 18.

To register your child for the program, you must fill out a registration form which is available at Cedar Key City Hall, and must be notarized. You may also see Kathy Polk, the director of the program, at the gym during the Summer Program hours. There is a ten dollar enrollment fee.

Students can expect something new each day of the week during the summer program. Mondays are spent at the Cedar Key School gymnasium and classroom. On Tuesdays, younger children take a fishing class from members of Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, while the older children play at the gym. Each Wednesday, students will go on a walking field trip to the City Library, then to the City Park for lunch. On Thursdays, the program alternates between going to the movies and going to Fanning Springs from week to week. There is no program on Fridays. This weekly schedule will continue until the program ends on July 24th.

The Cedar Key Arts Center offers a Children's Summer Art Program for students in kindergarten through high school. To sign up for the art program, visit the Arts Center and fill out the registration form. There is also an enrollment fee. Throughout the program, the students will cover a variety of different types of art.

Though the classes for students in Kindergarten through 6th grades came to a close the afternoon of June 27, classes for middle and high school students will begin on July 8. Students in this age group will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of July. Pizza and/or snacks will be served each evening for the middle and high school session, which takes place in the evenings.

The Cedar Key Public Library also has a schedule of events for local youth. Each Wednesday, except for the week of Independence Day, students of all ages are welcome to come to participate in the program called "The Whole Wide World at Your Library." The program begins at ten in the morning and lasts about 45 minutes. Each week, the students will explore a different part of the world in a themed party of crafts, snacks, stories and music. On the Wednesdays after Independence Day, students will discover Australia, Africa and South America.

The library also offers a program for tweens and teens called "Technopop." Beginning at 11 a.m. each Wednesday morning, students are invited to the library for different activites each week. On the Wednesday after the week of Independence Day, students are welcome to come and participate in a Gaming Bash using the Levy County Public Library System's new X-Box 360. The students can play either of the library's games, Rock Band or Halo 3, and are encouraged to bring their own 360 controllers if they can. On the Wednesdays following, there will be a PhotoShop class, then a movie showing, complete with popcorn.

In 2004, the President declared June the Great Outdoors Month. In that spirit, the youth of Cedar Key should take advantage of the many outdoor recreational activities that are available in the Cedar Key area. There are two springs in close proximity to Cedar Key: Fanning Springs State Park in Fanning Springs, and Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland. If 70 degree Fahrenheit water isn't attractive to you, the shores of Cedar Key are great for kayaking and boating. Kayak rentals and guided tours are available downtown.

So whether you spend your summer gaming at the library, going to the movies with the Youth Summer Program, or swimming in the springs, you're in for a fun time!

Lindsay Edmunds is a senior at Cedar Key School.