Community Schools programs start Wednesday

Summer is officially gone. The leaves are yellow, the temperatures are dropping and Community Schools is back in session.

The Community Schools program, which is a partnership between the city of Soldotna and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District starts on Sept. 26 and will run throughout the fall. The program offers a wide array of classes open to the community, including sport events, cultural and historical education, self-reliance knowledge and fun classes.

The Community Schools program is a promotion “life-long learning by providing educational, cultural and recreational classes and activities for people of all ages. A partnership with the community and schools to utilize the many resources provided through community involvement,” according to Soldotna’s website.

This years classes include creative classes such as fur sewing and spinning yarn.

The fur sewing class will “demonstrate hide stretching and teach skin sewing techniques and secrets for making projects such as; trapper-style fur hats, women’s dress band hats, sheepskin slippers with beaver cuffs, baby booties, baby hats, children’s beaver mittens, sheepskin trapper-style hats, and earmuffs,” according to the class description.

There are also cooking classes, including a Dutch oven cooking course where students will learn the technical aspects of cooking in a Dutch oven, described as a “historical cast iron delight.”

In November, the community is invited to look to the stars with Kenai Peninsula College Astronomy Professor Andy Veh.

On Nov. 1, 8 and 15 from 7 to 9 p.m., Veh will make the stars tangible with his “Night Lights” classes.

“For the most part, if it’s clear I try to take the people who show up outside as much as we can,” Veh said. “… Then we try to observe as much as we can — stars, constellations, planets if their out. We’ll observe the moon if it’s out, whatever is out.”

Veh’s classes are free and open to the community. The classes meet at the Kenai Peninsula College in room 151. Students are encouraged to bring warm cloths, cookies and hot cocoa to combat the cold weather. Students are also encouraged to binoculars or a telescope if they have them.

“I don’t have a lesson plan,” Veh said. “There are several reasons for that … I don’t know if it’s cloudy or clear and I want to keep my options open. As people show up, I go by their interest. They ask questions and I try to answer them on top of my head.”

The program also offers free hall walking nights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through the hallways of Soldotna Prep School. The walks start on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. and gives people the opportunity to walk despite the weather.

Classes vary in pricing, with several free options. They also vary in time commitment. For a full list of the classes offered visit the Soldotna Parks and Recreation’s website, the Community Schools Program Facebook page or call 714-1211.

Reach Kat Sorensen at

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