Public invited to summer camp, swimming and activities at South Fork

Teacher Mary Moyer with her daughter Emily Moyer enjoy a swim together at South Fork Middle School

Photos and story by Catherine Stachowiak

The South Fork School District is inviting the public to enjoy their newly resurfaced swimming pool at South Fork Middle School campus.  And there is more to enjoy on campus this month with summer camps through Kern Valley Aquatics Program starting July 8, among other activities for families and seniors such as aquatics workout classes for under $10 and family swim night.  

For summer camp, kids will enjoy arts and crafts, and indoor and outdoor play.  To students within South Fork School District the fee is only $25 to attend because a grant helps pay for the rest. And buses provide pickup for children within the district.  However students outside the district, from all over the valley, may also attend at the price of $100 with their own transportation.  Families needing financial assistance to attend should contact the district.   Register at

Superintendent of South Fork School District, Richard Rhodes said, “We did a renovation, we resurfaced the pool this year. Everything was all re-plastered.  The roughness is gone and it’s smooth on the bottom and sides. The board just approved the purchase of the benches and picnic tables.”

The swimming lessons program includes choices of: Parent and Child swim lessons for babies six months and up; Level 1 for ages 3 and up; Level 2 for ages 5 and up; and Levels 3 and 4.  A series of classes is coming up, in the month of July. The public should not hesitate to register.

The program is partly due to a grant from First 5 Kern, which the district wants people to enjoy before the district reapplies to the grant this July.  The grant is a five-year grant, which the community benefited from these past five years and is expiring.  Rhodes said, “We want to keep this program.  A grant must be done by the end of July.”   

The ease for parents in Weldon and Onyx is evident with the school providing transportation for the kids.  “We’re providing transportation for the kids to come. We’re doing it right now.   And we want to keep this program because the grant has supported it for the last five years,” said Rhodes. “I think this is a really good community resource.” 

Danica Vittoria director at South Fork pool

Rhodes also mentioned that Kernville Baptist Church would be using the pool for a vacation Bible school program. And a Native American culture group is using the pool, for a retreat type activity, and the school cafeteria during summer.  Rhodes said other groups are welcome to connect with the school if they wish to use the facility.  He said, “I think it’s really cool that other people can use it.  Kids can come here in the summer time and swim.”

The school has a lifeguard available during swim and lesson times.  “As we’re getting ready to write this new grant, people in the community know that it’s important to them.  It’s the only pool that’s available to people here in the valley,” said Rhodes.

Corrin Hayes, business manager at South Fork School District said, the program officers aquatics, senior aerobics, zumba aquatics for seniors, open lap swim mornings, and after lunchtime is open swim time until 4pm.  Then swim lessons at 4pm.  

Danica Vittoria facilitated ELOP program and brought in more lifeguards and counselors to help facilitate that for students. Vittoria, is the director who does organizing and scheduling at the South Fork pool. She said,  “I’ve been here since 2012. So I started out as just a swim instructor, and then started helping a little bit more on the office side, and then took over.”

Another program offered is Junior Guards, where students learn CPR, AED machines, safety in pool trainings, first aid, and safety awareness.  Ultimately those attending have the opportunity to seek job openings because the school hires high school students as lifeguards. 

Vittoria told the Kern Valley Sun that the lifeguard chairs at the pool have been repainted and reupholstered. She said Kern Family Health Care and First 5 Kern are both funders for the different aspects for their program through grants.  “Our junior lifeguard program is awesome because it feeds into our staff. The junior lifeguard program is for ages 7 and up for kids who already know how to swim and are just looking to enhance their swimming skills.” Later they can work as a lifeguard on staff. 

Fridays 6pm to 9pm is family night, which is a night swim for $5 per person, and $18 for a family of more than five persons. Families are sometimes provided a free meal.  Some snacks are purchase items. The pool has lights and pool floaties on family nights. Occasionally the program provides movies depending on the time of sunset.  “Last Friday we had people stay until 9:00,” Hayes said.