Kenai Watershed Forum

Summer camps this year are getting a little help from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services in the form of one-time grants. The Alaska Community Foundation and the Rasmuson Foundation are helping to administer the program, which sent out about $1.26 million in aid last week to various camp programs all over the state.

Challenger Learning Center of Alaska

In a summer when most people are stuck at home, a handful of local kids are not only getting to connect with another culture, but also get a glance at the future of space travel.

This week kicked off the first camp the Challenger Learning Center of Kenai is running alongside the Bermuda Ministry of Education. The two regions are very different—besides the fact that one is tropical and one is subarctic and Bermuda is a British territory, the island of Bermuda in total is about 20.5 square miles. In comparison, the City of Kenai alone is about 29 square miles. But they’re connected by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration.

Kenai Watershed Forum

Usually, June is a hopping month on the Kenai Peninsula, packed with festivals, fun runs, and summer camps. This year, most of them are limited, cancelled or postponed. But there are still a few options for parents looking to get their kids outside into the sunshine.

Solid Rock Bible Camp outside Soldotna is pressing on with its summer camps, including overnights. The camp organizers are trying to include as much of the normal camp experience as they can, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely business as usual. Courtney Proctor, a spokesperson for the camp, said there will be some changes, like doing more things outside and keeping group games smaller.

Soldotna Chamber of Commerce

The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce is encouraging families to go on a bear hunt.

“Not real, furry, live bears, no,” said Sarah Hondel, tourism and education director at the chamber.

It’s a scavenger hunt for stuffed bears or pictures of bears, not actual, live bears. Similar bear scavenger hunts are happening in communities nationwide.

“For the idea of kids that are at home during the pandemic, they can have a chance to go out with their families from a safe distance, i.e., in their car for family car rides, to try to find on a scavenger hunt where all of these bears are hiding in their own communities,” Hondel said.

Mr. Fox explains to Christopher Mouse why the winter weather is so cold in "Why is it Cold" by Chris Arvetis and Carole Palmer, read by Donna Shirnberg.

"What's that big, bright circle in the sky?" asks Christopher. Wise Owl knows it's the moon and she tells Christopher all about it in "What is the Moon" by Chris Arvetis and Carole Palmer, read by Sally Cassano.

When he follows his nose through the woods, Cub discovers a backyard tea party, with cookies! But he also discovers a tea party hostess who is very bossy, in "Tea Party Rules," by Amy Dyckman, read by Branden Bornemann

And, a kindhearted mouse becomes Santa’s littlest helper in "Santa Mouse," by Michael Brown.

Dogs and cats are nice, but just think how impressed your friends will be when they meet your new pet sea lion. Sally Cassano reads "Your Pet Sea Lion" by Bobbie Hamsa.

Of course Betty Bunny didn't do it — the Tooth Fairy did! At least that's who the preschooler uses as her scapegoat as she tries to wriggle her way out of trouble. Sharon Mosbrucker ready "Betty Bunny Didn't Do It," by Michael Kaplan.

Follow Winston, a baby goat, as he explores the farm to find a friend of his very own. Winston meets several barn yard friends before finding his perfect match. By Whitney C. Owens, read by Sharon Mosbrucker.

What do you call a donkey with three legs? A wonky donkey, and a lot more fun in Craig Smith's book, "The Wonkey Donkey," read by Donna Shirnberg. And Sally Cassano reads "I Love You Because You're You," by Liza Baker.

CJ can't understand how his grandma "finds beautiful" wherever she looks, until he opens his eyes and his heart. Sally Cassano reads "Last Stop on Market Street," by Matt de la Peña.

In "Music, Music for Everyone," by Vera B. Williams, Rosa's grandma is sick and must stay upstairs in bed. After school, Rosa and her friends play music for Grandma. She says their playing makes her feel like a girl again, dancing at a party. And that is the beginning of Rosa's wonderful idea.

Sally Cassano reads "Princess Smartypants" by Babette Cole and "The Napping House" by Audrey Wood.


Princess Smartypants doesn't want to get married, she'd rather live with her pets. When commanded to find a husband, she uses all her wits to outsmart her suitors.


In the napping house is a cozy bed piled high with a snoring granny, a dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing cat and a slumbering mouse. All is at peace until the appearance of an unexpected visitor, and before you know it no one is sleeping.

Penny loves her toy Pup so much she thinks she doesn't need any other friends. But when Pup is lost, Penny learns we all need a little help sometimes. Sally Cassano reads "Penny and Pup" by Linda Jennings.

Nov. 22, 2018: ' Oink?'

Nov 26, 2018

Thomas and Joseph are perfectly sloppy, happy pigs. When the other animals try to get them to clean up their act, the pigs prove that being lazy might not be as dumb as it seems. Sally Cassano reads "Oink?" by Margie Palatini.

After a fire destroys their home and possessions, Rosa, her mother, and  grandmother save their money to buy a big comfortable chair that they can all enjoy. Sally Cassano reads "A Chair for My Mother" by Vera Williams.

Everything comes from something, as Agatha learns when she gets a late-night visit from some geese that are not thrilled with her new feather bed. Sally Cassano reads "Agatha’s Feather Bed" by Carmen Agra Deedy.

Thanks to Aiden, Heidi, Zoe, Mikey and Vail, fifth-graders at Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science in Kenai, for reading our Tune-In Tale this week, “The Day the Crayons Quit,” by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

A lost ball turns into a fuzz frenzy for a community of prairie dogs in "The Great Fuzz Frenzy," by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel, read by Sally Cassano. Will the Big Bark steal the fun or save the day?

Shel Silverstein delights with a selection of poems: “The Googies Are Coming,” read by Anya Hondel, “Hug of War,” read by Skylar Lyon, “Zebra Questions,” read by Mandy Samuels, and “Help,” read by Anya Hondel. After that, it’s “Have I got dogs,” by William Cole, read by Mary Whybark.

Feeling a little sluggish? "Score One for the Sloths" will make you feel great about your level of motivation. Story by Helen Lester, read by Mandy Samuels.

What trouble will the Siamese kitty Skippyjon Jones get into with his Chihuahua friends? Will his imagination be big enough to save the day? Find out in "Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse," by Judy Schachner, ready by Sally Cassano.

Megan learns just how smart pigs can be in "Pigs," by Robert Munsch, read by Sally Cassano.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

July on the Kenai Peninsula means one thing to most people — fishing. Even if you don’t put a line in the water, it’s likely your friends, neighbors, co-workers or certainly the people in line ahead of you at the store do.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center has you covered this week.

“Fish week at the refuge is all about everything fish, so, not just fishing, but we started out on Tuesday talking about the anatomy of fish and what fish need to survive — so, habitat and what makes a healthy stream. Things like that,” said Leah Eskelin, park ranger with the visitors services department at the refuge.

Tune-In Tales celebrates World Giraffe Day on June 21 with a story of young Cal learning how to stay safe on the savannah. Sally Cassano reads "Giraffe Trouble" by Jean Craighead George.

Tag along with everyone's favorite big red dog in "Clifford Takes a Trip," by Norman Bridwell, and learn why not to cry wolf in Aesop's cassic fable, "The Shepherd's Boy," both read by Sally Cassano.

Lemonade Day

Jun 11, 2018
Jenny Neyman/KDLL

June 9 was Lemonade Day on the central Kenai Peninsula, with over 30 young entrepreneurs operating their very own business for the day. KDLL visited with several stands in Soldotna:

Interviews and Lemonade Day stand locations:

Paxton and Silas, Key Bank

Ryder and Gunner, First American Title

Samuel, Sportsman’s Warehouse

Tenakee and Ryan, Wilderness Way

Raylee and Micah, Napa

Christopher and Kaden, Odie's

Ava and Zoe, Binkley Street

Aiden, 4D Building

Justine, Elise and Alana, Beemun's

Sally Cassano reads "Toot's Tour of India," by Laura F. Marsh.

Welcome to Tune-In Tales, storytelling for kids on KDLL. Our first episode, May 3, is "The Three Mooses Mosely," by Sally Cassano, performed by Sally, Sara and Truuli Hondel, Austin Thomas and Mike Gallagher. Enjoy!