Sustainable Summer

Face it. Your kids are going to get bored. But they don’t have to stay that way.

Those looking for a summer camp that will add lessons in sustainability and entrepreneurship to their child’s toolbox may find the Three Spheres Leadership Academy (TSLA) is exactly what they’re searching for.

TSLA will have two sessions (June 10 to July 3 and July 8 to Aug. 2) open for high school students to learn through hands-on activities, guest speakers and field trips to local sustainable businesses and technologies. The camp runs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Envirolution, a local non-profit organization focused on sustainability and energy efficiency education, is organizing and teaching the program, but the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows (BGCTM) is hosting it at their facility and providing food for students and buses for field trips.

Envirolution piloted this program last year with eight students, but this year they plan to expand it to 20 students in each session, according to Community Services Director David Gibson. Last year, he said they went on about 25 field trips, including the Great Basin Community Food Co-op (GBCFC), the Reno Bike Project, Black Rock Solar and the geothermal plants of Peppermill Hotel Casino and Ormat Technologies, Inc.

This program also teaches students how to start their own business or project in sustainability that will help improve our community and the students’ personal skill sets and résumés. The program guarantees 20-plus field trips, membership to BGCTM, a T-shirt, a sustainability kit for home and mentorship opportunities. Two of the students from last year will be back as mentors.

Gibson said the program is still being planned, but they will go on many of the same field trips and do many of the same activities as they did last year, including visiting Patagonia, Sunvelope Solar and GBCFC.

Gibson said they will add a yoga session once a week and incorporate “a social aspect by getting more engaged in the local art and music scene.” They’re also “trying to line up something with the native tribes to learn about the history of the area before white settlers.”

The program costs $500, but scholarships are available. Gibson said they wouldn’t turn anyone away if they want to participate.

“We actually just had a grant come in to provide scholarship money to low-income students,” said Lisa Godenick, a fundraising AmeriCorps volunteer. “And we’re hosting a movie fundraiser in May. Some of the money from that will go to TSLA.”