Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


Precautions While Camping and Hiking

As summer draws to a close, you might be thinking of making one final camping trip this season or taking the family on a hike through the woods. While the Great Outdoors is a fun place for kids to learn and explore, families should take serious precautions to prevent the development of Lyme disease, an inflammatory disease spread through a tick bite.

Family Tent Camping Season Tick bites can be prevalent in the summer while camping or hiking.

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. The incubation period before symptoms can been seen can be as short as a few days and as long as several years. Not all symptoms of Lyme disease are universal either, and it can be misdiagnosed as other autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.

While prevalent in the summer when people are often outdoors, tick bites can occur throughout the year and throughout the Northern Hemisphere. You’re not just at risk when walking through the forest either; ticks thrive wherever there is grass or vegetation.

To protect yourself and your kids, you should wear hats and long sleeves, and tuck your pants into your socks while traversing possible tick-infested areas. Don’t forget to do a post-hike body check for ticks as well, especially if you bring the family dog on the hike too.

A story about the effects of Lyme disease that will resonant with Bellingham and Whatcom County families is that of the Loreen Family, a local family that is struggling with Lyme disease. Jackie Loreen and her four sons have all been diagnosed with Lyme disease, and her husband Mark is the primary provider and caregiver for the family.

Friends of the Loreen family are organizing a fundraiser, Crush the Lyme Family Fun Run, to help with medical expenses. All are welcome to participate.

If you find a tick on your child, review this Tick Bites Instruction Sheet by with information about removing the tick and prevention tips, and consult your family physician.

To learn more about Lyme disease, visit the International Lyme And Associated Diseases Society.

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The Bike Shop Empowers Kids with Bikes

For nearly 100 years, bicycles have been associated with childhood. Learning to ride a bike is a milestone for nearly all of us in our transition from youth to adulthood. Besides, who else but an energetic child has the stamina to ride for hours on end?

The Bike Shop Bike Swap The Bike Shop’s First Annual Bike Swap
Photo by Theresa Carpine

“Bikes are synonymous with independence for children. The freedom they bring seems to be a universal experience,” said Matthew Velguth, director of The Bike Shop, in an email interview.

Matthew kept all these ideas in mind when developing an outreach program for a First Nations community in eastern Canada in 2002.

“I had worked with at-risk youth for years and had good success, but I always saw them return to failing behavior when they returned to the same environments,” Matthew said.

Matthew’s project in Canada encouraged self-esteem and empowerment for kids through bike ownership and maintenance. He continued the project in Portland, Maine for four years and opened in Bellingham in 2010.

The Bike Shop is a non-profit child-centered project for participants from low-income homes. With a $10 contribution, kids can purchase a bike of their own, and are taught to keep their bikes in top riding condition using shop resources as well.

The Shop also leads weekend rides for kids age eight and up so they can practice bicycle safety and explore unfamiliar areas of town with adult guides.

Nearly one hundred local kids have already participated in the program and Matthew hopes that The Bike Shop will be able to achieve the financial stability needed to continue its success as a youth outreach program.

An upcoming fundraising event for The Bike Shop is the Bellingham Summer Bike Swap on Saturday, August 21, 2010 from noon to 4 PM at Bellingham Sportsplex. The Bike Shop’s first Bike Swap in May was so successful that a summer Swap was added to the calendar. An Early Bird donation of $2 gets you in for your first choice of bikes between 10 AM and noon. Early admission fees and ten percent of the bike sales will benefit The Bike Shop.

The Bike Shop Bike Swap The Bike Shop’s First Annual Bike Swap
Photo by Theresa Carpine

“A Bike Swap is a natural fit for a bicycle project,” Matthew said. “People enjoy buying and selling at a venue where buyers are blinded from sellers, so there is no pressure either way: no one showing up at your door, no need to make an appointment with a person that you don’t know. There are dozens of bikes that might be a fit at a variety of prices. All in all, people are pleased whether buying or selling.”

If you’d like to support The Shop, consider making a financial donation, volunteering your time as a Weekend Ride Guide, or donating your family’s old bikes. “Currently smaller bikes, trikes to 20″, are in short supply, but honestly we can use any size,” Matthew said. He also encourages people to spread the word to families and kids who can make use of The Shop’s resources.

“The participant contributions are used to fund our weekend rides, so these kids are paying their own way. This is not a ‘gimme gimme’ program, but instead teaches anti-entitlement empowerment,” said Matthew.

The Shop is located at 558 Sterling Drive, near Sterling Drive Church of Christ behind Bellis Fair Mall. Visit The Bike Shop or call (360) 758-2035 for more information about this great program for Bellingham kids!

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Celebrate 100 Years of Fair Fun in Lynden

Northwest Washington Fair! Fun at the Northwest Washington Fair!
Photo by Bernie Vos
Courtesy Northwest Washington Fair Association

No summer is complete without a trip to Lynden for the annual Northwest Washington Fair! You definitely won’t want to miss out on the fun this year, as 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the oldest entertainment event in Whatcom County.

Along with all the usual attractions, take a look at a few special centennial events that you’ll find at the fair this year.

Centennial Book and DVD

To commemorate this landmark event, the Northwest Washington Fair Association has published a book about the fair. The book contains historic and contemporary photos of fair participants and events, prize-winning recipes, and stories about the history of the agricultural community of Whatcom County. You can buy the book ($25 plus tax) at the souvenir book next to the Grandstand during the Fair.

Centennial Hall

Cow at the Northwest Washington Fair See all kinds of farm animals at the fair.
Photo by Theresa Carpine

In the Mount Baker Rotary Building this year, visitors can learn about fair history with photos and exhibits. Kids will really enjoy crafts, like decorating an old-fashioned milk bottle, and getting an official USPS Centennial Cancellation Stamp on your mail. All ages are also welcome to participate in a Centennial Cake Contest to decorate a 9″ x 13″ cake with the theme 100 Years – Endless Memories (cake entries due by Friday, August 13, at 2 PM).

Nightly Laser Light Shows

After the evening’s entertainment on the Community Stage, check out an amazing Laser Light Show by the water tower. Depending on the performance, the Laser Light Show will take place between 9:30 and 11 PM.

And, just so you know, 2010 still has all the annual favorites, like Kids Zone, Horse Shows, Live Entertainment, carnival rides, agricultural exhibits, food, and more! This year’s fair begins on August 16th and ends on the 21st.

What’s your favorite thing about the Northwest Washington Fair? Leave a comment to tell us your story!

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