***image1***Hopping off their chairlifts and gathering at the head of the trail, 21 children sporting cowboy hats anxiously surround their guide.
“Who wants to go on a hike today?” he asks. All 21 hands shoot up at once with a cheer. This is Just for Kids.
Hubie Beckmann, a recreation assistant with Edelweiss Lodge and Resort explains a little about trail safety and points out the mountain ranges before the kids head back down the mountain.
Just for Kids is an Edelweiss Lodge and Resort recreation program that provides children ages 4 and up a great time through encouragement, education and exploration.
“Children are never too old for our programs,” said Mr. Beckmann.
“We have so many different activities that they apply to children of all ages.”
“We try to get the kids outdoors as much as possible,” said Maggie Beardslee, a recreation aide with the resort. “It gets them away from the TV and computer games for a while and exposes them to the outdoors, nature and the environment.”
An average day starts at about 8:15 a.m. when parents drop off their children in the resort lobby. From there the children go to the Just for Kids activity center where they have a morning snack before leaving for the morning activity. They return to the activity center for lunch and a little quiet time before gearing up for the afternoon activity. Finally, they’re reunited with their parents back in the resort lobby at about 4 p.m.
“But every day and every trip is different. One day the children can either be out on nature hikes and visiting castles or they can be playing mini golf and swimming,” said Mr. Beckmann.
***image2***The children pass through fields of wildflowers and long grass that carpets the countryside as they walk and skip down the trail.
“I like being here and doing fun stuff with the other kids,” said Jonas, 6, whose parents work at Ramstein. “But I really love sliding down the water slide when we go swimming.”
“Swimming is our most popular activity,” said Miss Beardslee. “However, the kids get a lot out of all the activities we do. It gives them a chance to do something that they don’t normally get to do.
Several of the children pick flowers along the edges of the trail as they wind their way back to the bottom and Miss Beardslee becomes the unsuspecting recipient of several small bouquets of flowers.
“I’ve got the best job here!” she said with a smile.