COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO — Forest fires may have closed many of the state’s camps this year but there’s hope to keep area youngsters occupied this summer.

Instead of leather craft or campfire ditties, students can learn everything from poetry to astronomy at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Youth University.

In four sessions that begin July 15, students ages 10 to 14 can enroll in weeklong courses held at the CU-Colorado Springs campus in northeast Colorado Springs. Youth University is sponsored by the CU-Colorado Springs College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. University faculty and community members teach the courses.

Rebecca LaRoche, assistant professor, English, will teach “Experiencing Poetry” and will help students discover poetry through reading other poets and writing their own poetry based on activities such as walks in a nature.

Robert Larkin, professor, Geography and Environmental Studies, will teach students skills they might need while exploring or at camp next year – how to keep from getting lost using compasses, topographic maps and a Global Positioning System.

Tom Christensen, associate professor, Physics, will teach “Plants, Stars and Beyond,” educating students about the lives of stars and exploring the planets and moons of the solar system. Students will work in groups, on computers and participate in hands-on activities.

For a complete list of courses, times, and registration information, visit or call the Office of Letters, Arts and Sciences Extended Studies, 262-4071, during business hours. Most courses cost $109 for the week with quantity discounts available.

CU-Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in northeast Colorado Springs is the fastest growing university in Colorado, offering 25 bachelor’s degrees, 17 master’s and two doctoral degrees. The university consists of the colleges of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Nursing, Education and the Graduate School of Public Affairs.