Family-Friendly Activities in Rock Springs, WY
As a kid, Ericka Youngerman dreamed about leaving her hometown. But after living in California and having children of her own, she looked back and saw that Sweetwater County is the ideal place to raise a family.
“Growing up, you want to get away from your hometown – then you grow up and realize what a great place it is,” says Youngerman, who lives in Sweetwater County with her husband and their three children.
Youngerman's family utilizes the many benefits this community offers, such as the school district's free after-school tutoring and winter recreation programs, and a variety of community-based activities. Her girls take gymnastics, her son plays flag football and the whole family enjoys swimming and soccer. Add Wyoming's famous outdoors, children's programs at local libraries and the YMCA, and local chapters of the Boys and Girls Clubs, and it's easy to see why so many families are choosing Sweetwater County. The icing on the cake, though, is the county's people.
“As soon as my family moved here, we had over a dozen individuals offer to watch our kids while we painted bedrooms,” says Sweetwater County School District #1 superintendent Matthew Neal, who moved here from Denver in May 2013. “Sweetwater has perfected the art of helping families feel welcome.”
Sweetwater County's population of children is growing rapidly, and the county is keeping pace with kid-friendly services and amenities.
“Our district population is increasing from the bottom up,” Neal says. “We've grown from 3,900 to 5,700 students in the last 10 years.”
The district is accommodating that growth through an aggressive expansion program. In addition to three recently constructed schools – one for grades K-4 and two for grades 5-6 – the district is preparing to build another elementary school, two high schools, and a K-12 school for students in rural Sweetwater County. The new schools have light-filled classrooms, the latest in instructional technology and a crowd of new staff.
“We have great tradition here, but we also have teachers who are fresh from the university setting, and they're brimming with new ideas and new energy,” Neal says.
Preschools With Purpose
For younger children, Sweetwater County has several top-notch preschools. The nonprofit Sweetwater County Child Developmental Center serves both typical and special-needs children, from birth to 5 years. SCCDC also provides free developmental screenings and in-home therapy for children up to 3 years old.
Rock Springs' Young at Heart Early Learning Center, which serves children ages 12 months to 5 years, uses Smart Boards in its classrooms to ease students' transition to kindergarten. The preschool shares its building with a senior center, and the two age groups regularly combine for art classes and other activities.
For parents seeking a religious orientation, Rock Springs' Trinity Lutheran Church operates Little Lambs Preschool for children ages 3-5. The school's curriculum combines classroom projects with outdoor recreation, educational field trips and visits from community mentors.
“We give them lots of opportunities to learn about their church, their home, their community and how they fit into it,” says director and teacher Betty Blackwell.
Check out more fun family activities in Rock Springs, WY.