Woodcraft is about the only thing that isn't taught at Woodcraft Rangers summer camp near Castaic Lake.
The Woodcraft Rangers, a national organization similar to Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, offers eight one-week summer camps for boys and girls ages 7 through 14. The camps are held starting July 5 at Stanley Ranch, which is on a hill overlooking the lake.
The United Way-funded organization earned its name in 1902 when it began as a crafts and woodworking program for rural youth. Today, the name has stayed but the Rangers now focus on athletics and self-esteem training, said Jim Van Hoven, executive director of the Rangers in Los Angeles.
The 200-acre Stanley Ranch is equipped with a pool, a petting zoo and nature trails. Activities include basketball, tennis, a weekly field trip to the beach and an obstacle course, which Van Hoven said is used "to help build decision-making skills." Also featured is a 23-foot-high rock-climbing wall that children scale using a rope and harness. They can then rappel down.
Children stay in tent cabins or bunkhouses. The camp, which costs $165 for one Monday-through-Saturday session, is accredited by the American Camping Assn.
Woodcraft Rangers also offers afternoon programs throughout the summer for West Valley members ages 6 through 12. The program is an extension of the after-school programs the group offers throughout the year, said Cathy Mostovoy, director of Rangers youth programs.
The programs are conducted on the school grounds of 12 West Valley elementary schools. Children earn ranks and badges in activities such as crafts, sports, educational programs and community service projects, which include collecting materials to recycle. Most sessions are two hours in the afternoon, one to four days a week, depending on the school.
The afternoon programs are open to Rangers members, as are occasional weekend field trips for children. Memberships are $15 a year.
"Most of our programs are to develop children holistically," Mostovoy said. "We work on cognitive skills with a multicultural emphasis. It's also to deter kids from gangs and drugs."
The Woodcraft Rangers, 2111 Park Grove Ave., Los Angeles, 90007-2099. For information, call 213-749-3031.