By Sarah Schrock

Thanks to the dedication of board members and volunteers, kids aged 5-8 had the opportunity to participate in a free Nature Craft camp at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center at TwispWorks last week.

As opposed to charging a fee for the camp, it was offered by donation. According to Carolyn Schmekel, one of the founders of the center, this strategy brought in more donations from families who might otherwise not give, plus the center came out ahead.

The Interpretive Center envisioned a day camp for young kids well over a year ago when the center had an intern from the North Cascades Institute pull together materials and ideas to formulate a nature-based camp. Led by Joey Nishida, a board member, the kids participated in theme-based games and lessons around nature and native culture.

Many board members and community volunteers pitched in to make it work. Barb Irvine captivated the imaginations of the young minds each day with traditional storytelling in the pit house. Bruce Morrison helped conceive and instruct daily arts and crafts that included papier-mâché animals and Native American talking sticks. Other volunteers through the week included Lois Caswell, George Wooten, Sam Israel, Kristin Kirkeby and parents of participants.

The Interpretive Center’s native garden is in full bloom — which won’t last, so make sure you come walk through the grounds and pay a visit before hot July night wither the blossoms. The interpretive center is a hidden gem in the heart of town and open Friday (noon – 4 p.m.), Saturday (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and Sunday (noon – 4 p.m.). If you have never visited, make a point of it. The displays depict the geologic, natural and Native American history of the Methow Valley with some rare and beautiful artifacts used in ceremonies and daily life.

Soon to be open in the Gloversville Building on the highway where Valley Video used to be located, is a new-age eclectic shop for holistic health. Sauna Quest and Health is a mother-and-son enterprise by Jana and Gabe Kennedy, longtime residents of the valley who recently returned from a few years away.

The shop will offer a variety of natural and holistic healing products and services. Natural supplements by the serving, portable saunas, full-body vibration machines, far infrared light therapy lamps, ionic foot baths, crystals, massage tools as well as a natural healing lending library are part of the plan. Gabe and Jana have been involved with natural health and healing for decades and have spent the last couple years learning more tricks of the trade, and want to offer products and services not available locally.

The Old School House Brewery’s Tap House has been open for a month and appears that a steady stream of visitors and beer. Among families with young kids, there has been much confusion and debate regarding the tap room’s policy on not allowing kids. Their liquor license can’t allow kids right now because it’s not a restaurant, nor it is an on-site brewery/pub. For now, kids are not allowed inside the premise — however, they are free to play on the lawn where there are lawn games set up, and the nearby splash pad at the plaza is within view where parents can keep an eye on them. Granted, if you have an infant or toddler, this is not ideal. However if your kids are a little more self-sufficient, it allows for a relaxed atmosphere for parents and in time future plans call for an expanded license that will allow all ages. These warm, long summer nights are the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to the new watering hole in the middle of the TwispWorks campus.

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