Ode to Summer

Yikes! Registration for Fairfax County Park Authority’s summer camps starts in 7 days; it just seems so wrong to have to think about summer plans when the snow hasn’t completely melted from my backyard, for heaven’s sake. But they always fill up quickly, so I’ll be one of those lurkers waiting for Parktakes Online to open on Feb. 7. (Spring registration starts Feb. 5) It’s a breeze to browse for classes, sign up or cancel online; the only problem a first-time user might have is how to decide among the dozens, possibly hundreds, of classes the system offers.

It’s not clear when Loudouners can sign up their kids for summer camps; the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services says late February or early March. Their browsing tool, Web-Trac, is as unwieldy as the agency’s name, at least for a first-time visitor or someone trying to register for the first time. A search for “camps” turned up a list that appears to arranged by when it’s offered, with no other information. When you click on one of the offerings, it’ll tell you dates and times of the classes, but then you have to click on four different symbols to find out location, cost, enrollment and details such as ages and class description. The classes themselves sound just as interesting and fun as Fairfax’s but I’d be put off from browsing online and would probably just turn to their print version. At least the Activity Guide can be downloaded as a PDF document from their main site; they currently have the Winter 2007-8 available now.

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