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River Fun Shapes Adventure Camp
It can't quite be rated perilous, heart-pounding adventure but it does happen outdoors and it does keep a group of children interested and entertained for a whole week.

Drawing 18 children ranging from ages six to 12, the Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department's annual, five-day Outdoor Adventure Camp was in full fling at Jacob Myers Park July 6 through 10.

The Stanislaus River flowing past the large gazebo that was their daily base seemed to be the main attraction for the children.

"Swimming in the river and playing in the playground is what I like most,' said Nicole Sparks.

"I like to catch the little fish, the minnows, they are very fast," added Marisol Salemme.

While the water on the northern bank is shallow and slow flowing, Sparks admitted she'd reached the south side the day before and found it much deeper there.

"The water was up to my forehead," she said, explaining she stepped into a hole.

All the children were back paddling in the river Wednesday to launch miniature boats they'd made of Styrofoam, balloons, pipe cleaners and what looked like tongue depressors.

"We're going to make boats and float them down the river," announced Marco Sepulveda, who again partnered with Courtney McCall this year as adult supervisors of the daylong camps.

"How do we get the boats back? We go further down the river. You can make and decorate them as you see fit," added Sepulveda.

The children turned out a remarkable variety of watercraft. On contact with the water, some boats quickly fell apart and sank, others capsized but most, sustained by the balloons, floated off down the river.

Interestingly, they did not all rapidly disappear around the bend because there was a breeze that kept blowing some back on the northern shore.

Salemme was eager to fit her boat with a sail that was not provided in the construction materials and found a large leaf to serve that purpose, using her own ingenuity and taking a cue from the Tom Hanks movie 'Castaway.'

Around noontime on Wednesday, Recreation Supervisor Kerrie Webb visited to wring out and dry the shirts that the children had tie dyed the day before. They were all the same color of blue but showed some interesting patterns dependent on where youngsters inserted the rubber bands the day of the project.

There were various activities scheduled for each day. Monday's included painting miniature people on strips of wood and playing kick ball. Tuesday featured water balloon fights, Frisbee games and a forest ranger that talked about water safety, in addition to the tie dye project. Other days saw hikes around the park, the making of "yarn bugs," weaving of lanyards a la Boy Scout days and a lunchtime barbecue on Thursday.