You remember summer camp, right? Every summer day is like Saturday for most kids. Something special — and as we all know, over far too soon.

But the summer camp experience is truly something special. For folks with long-ago memories, camp meant swimming, canoeing, roasting empty calories over an open fire. Pure fun.

Well, the five-day STEAM Maker Camp isn’t that. Oh, it’s huge fun alright. It’s just that the primary focus for about a half-dozen kids this week was learning to enjoy things involving science, technology, engineering, art and math. Get it? STEAM, and not the Peter Gabriel kind.

The five-day STEAM Maker Camp is one of four summer programs offered by the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum. The weeklong event extends school classroom learning using outside enrichment that helps students develop teamwork and useful skills.

But perhaps most importantly, it focuses today’s young students on tomorrow’s tech, academic and self-enrichment challenges.

For example, on one day of the camp the kids pulled DNA from five different fruits. They also spent some quality time learning about bacteria and microorganisms by making pizza dough.

We’re not sure any of this would qualify as summer fun for some of us old-timers, but the fact is this is what fires up the minds and imaginations of young people today — and we all benefit.

Another major benefit is that the Discovery Museum’s programs give kids a hands-on view of high-tech and the arts that they might otherwise not have access to.

Roses to all the young people who take part in such exercises, and to those who provide the stage upon which the exercises are explained and performed.


But let’s face it, summer is not all about learning. When you’re young, sometimes having fun can and should be the focus.

That happened earlier this week at Tunnel Park in Santa Maria, where yet another top-notch activity was provided by the Recreation and Parks Department.

This particular event was what city officials refer to as a pop-up, involving local teens enjoying all kinds of planned fun, including Nerf Blaster battles, bubble soccer, dodgeball, drone racing, painting and free refreshments at the park last Wednesday.

It’s all part of the Recreation and Parks Department’s “Parks Make Life Better Month.”

We can’t say enough good things about the city’s decision makers, so instead, how about we offer a bouquet of roses.


Yes, summer is special and fun, offering educational and environmental activities that are truly infectious.

Roses to the folks at the Santa Maria Public Library and its branches throughout North County, once again, for providing a seed library free to all library members.

The locations at which the seeds can be picked up are Santa Maria Downtown, Alamos, New Cuyama, Guadalupe and Orcutt.

The deal is you can use the self-service seed stations to take up to three packets of seeds home to plant and grow vegetables, spices or flowers. Once you start with the first packet of seeds, you can harvest the end product for yourself, and just let the rest go to seed. Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy sort of thing.

The seed library is the result of a partnership that involves the Santa Maria Public Library Foundation, with grant funding from the Altrusa International Foundation of Santa Maria. For more information, call the Santa Maria Public Library Information Desk at 805-925-0994, ext. 8562.

This is a great program because it helps put citizens in closer touch with our natural environment — where roses flourish.

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