Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents

Archive for the Recreational Programs Category

Published on: September 9, 2013  

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Nisqually is a National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), one of a special set of federal lands set aside for fish and wildlife. This is a protected region in which the freshwater of the Nisqually River combines with the saltwater of the Puget Sound to form an estuary rich in nutrients. These nutrients support a web of sea life – the benefits of which extend throughout Puget Sound and beyond.

Enjoy wildlife viewing, guided interpretive programs, and self-led and ranger-guided walks. Over 200 species of bird visit this Refuge over the course of the year! Work on your photography skills as you photograph this natural habitat, and learn about wildlife, plants, and ecology along the way. Hunting and fishing are permitted within a limited area at the refuge, so learn more on the website about boat access and other important regulations.

BirdIn the month of September, migrating waterfowl begin to arrive. Come to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge to check out the Watershed Festival. Weekend Nature Programs are held often, so check the website for more information.Especially fun for the family:

  • Visit the Nature Explore Area, designed for kids ages 2-8 with adult supervision. This area provides a place for up-close and hands-on interaction with nature. Parents and children will enjoy creating, exploring, and discovering this space while using natural materials.
  • Opt in for the Junior Refuge Manager Program, designed for kids ages 4-11. This is a free program that allows kids to complete fun activities in a workbook while exploring the Refuge with parents. Participants receive a completion certificate and a badge upon completion.

Visit the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge website to learn more about the park, programs offered, and events that are going on this month.

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

Olympia, Washington



Published on: June 6, 2013  

The GRuB Farm

Nestled into a cozy corner of West Olympia, GRuB Farm is making a big impact on our community!  The farm itself is a welcoming source of information on local, sustainable agriculture.  Moreso, the folks at GRuB are actively growing a healthier community.


Aside from welcoming visitors to the farm, GRuB offers an array of programs for our community’s youth and those in need.  Youth programs at GRuB emphasize leadership and team building skills, as well as self development and community empowerment.  GRuB has launched an alternative high school pilot program for disengaged youth who struggle within the traditional school system, and they help these kids to thrive.  Additionally, GRuB offers a youth work program, and fieldtrip programs for local schools.

If your family would like to get involved in GRuB’s great work, GRuB offers a cornucopia of options.  Becoming involved with GRuB is a wonderful opportunity to teach your child community awareness, healthy living, and to cultivate an attitude of generosity and sharing.  Opportunities include:

  • The Bouquet CSA Program:  Your family can become an ambassador for youth by displaying a sustainably grown floral bouquet, delivered once a week from mid-July through late-August.
  • Cultivator Veggie CSA:  Pick up your weekly share of the bounty from late June through early October!  Youth who participate in growing these healthy foods are also given a share.
  • Giving Gardens Project:  When you purchase a garden, GRuB will come to your home and install your garden and they will also give a garden to a family in need, to help put fresh food on another table!
  • Shop!:  GRuB goods are available at their neighborhood market stand on Wednesdays starting in June through early fall, and on Tuesdays from 4-7 at the West Olympia Farmer’s Market at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.  Support the farm, and eat well!

GRuB is truly a community gem, offering many opportunities for your family to engage together, and helping to create a more bountiful community.

learning sign

For more information, visit GRuB’s delicious website, or call 360.753.5522.

Warmest Regards,


Gyro Psychology Services

Olympia, Washington



Published on: April 30, 2013  

Wolf Haven International

Wolf Haven International is a local gem, offering a rare glimpse of the beautiful and elusive wolf.  Wolf Haven provides sanctuary for captive born wolves, and participates in species survival programs for the Mexican grey and red wolf.


Guided sanctuary tours are available six days per week (closed on Tuesdays).  Tours are best suited for children who are capable of remaining fairly quiet, and who will remain with the tour group.  Families may opt to “adopt” a sanctuary wolf of their choosing.


Wolf Haven International collaborates with The Wolf Camp, an independent Conservation Teaching College running workshops and youth camps since 1997.

Kids Day Camp runs from August 26-30, 2013 at Millersylvania State Park, with transportation available from Centralia, Olympia, JBLM, Tacoma and Puyallup.

Kid participants can choose between three camp theme options.  Register by April 30 for discounted tuition.

Don’t worry – there are plenty of learning, volunteer, and camp opportunities for us big kids too!

Visit Wolf Haven’s website for more details about camps and guided tours.


Warmest Regards,


Gyro Psychology Services

Olympia, Washington


866.616.GYRO (4976)

Published on: November 16, 2012  

Olympia Hands On Children's Museum

The Olympia Hands On Children’s Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups.  Their programs and participatory exhibits are designed specifically to encourage interaction and inquiry, as well as participation from the entire family.  They believe that learning occurs in a variety of ways, and that experiential learning is essential for proper brain development.  They actively partner with social service agencies, public schools, service clubs, public libraries, and other community organizations to bring interactive education to the community.

The Hands on Children’s Museum is having it’s grand opening on the November 10th – 12th. It’s new home is located on Olympia’s waterfront. The museum offers a variety of galleries and studios, and a wonderful outdoor discovery center. In addition to interactive galleries, the museum offers a preschool, school break camps, field trips and group visits, home school workshops and a variety of free classes and programs. They also offer a wonderful service for parents and children called, “Parents Night Out”.

The Hands on Children’s Museum has always been a favorite destination for so many south sound youth including my 4yo son and 6yo daughter.  Please give their friendly team a call at 360.956.0818 for more information about their facility and their many learning opportunities and activities.

Hope you and your family enjoy this wonderful local treasure.

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services, Inc.

Published on: October 9, 2012  

Schilter Family Farm

Taking the kids to a pumpkin patch has become a family tradition of ours.  The Schilter Family Farm located in the Nisqually Valley, offers a variety of activities for kids and their families year around.



The Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Festival is the primary activity in the fall. The festival is always a delight as our kids enjoy the petting zoo, a walk through the hay maze, climbing the hay castle in the play area, the corn maze, the tractor ride, the pony ride and a wide variety of other family friendly activities including the pumpkin patch itself.

The festival opens on October 1st and will remain open until October 31st.  There is an admissions fee for adults and kids of $3.00 during the week and $5.00 on the weekend.  Kids 2 years-old and under get in free.  They also offer weekend and weekday family passes as well as school field trips.

The staff at the farm also provide guided tours for students and teachers.  Educational opportunities abound throughout the farm for kids and teachers alike.

Shilter’s Family Farm grows a variety of trees for the holidays.  You can choose one of the pre-cut tress or you and your family can meander through the acres of live tress and cut down just the right one on your own. The friendly staff at the farm will help trim the tree and use netting so that it’s easy to transport home.  Tree cutting and pick up begins the day after Thanksgiving and continues through December 21st.

Please visit their website to learn more about scheduled activities & events.  You can also call them at, 360.459.4023 for more information.

We hope you and your family enjoy the fun and excitement of the change in season.

Be sure to check out other family-friendly community events and activities at Go-Gyro-Go.  You’ll be glad you did.

Have Fun!

Gyro Psychology Services, Inc.


Published on: March 7, 2012  

Briggs YMCA

The Y was bustling the on the day or my tour as young and old alike enjoyed the wide variety of activities and classes offered. The front office staff was welcoming and supportive as they helped members get checked in and orientated.  This was my first time visiting the Briggs Y. Becoming a member is easy, as they want to make their services available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

Their mission is to provide youth and members of our south sound community an affordable and accessible resource for the development of mind and body through recreational, health, and leadership programs. They also offer childcare for young learners. Please visit their website for a list of programs, classes and camps.

The Briggs YMCA has two swimming pools and offers swimming lessons to youth all year long. One pool is 3’ deep and is perfect for young swimmers. Opportunities for youth and parents to connect through these activities are bountiful through their family aquatics activities like Flick N Floats, Special Needs Connections, and open swim time.

The YMCA also offers opportunities for young children to learn about a variety of sports including basketball, baseball, cross-country, flag football, volleyball and others. I was delighted to learn that they offer a non-competitive soccer program that serves to promote teamwork, cooperation and skill building.

Opportunities for play abound as the YMCA offers as they offer a variety of classes in dance, art, martial arts, a middle school late night, opportunities to learn about science, tumbling and climbing at their amazing rock climbing wall.

Educational activities are also available including the Strong Kids program. Strong Kids is a program designed to help kids learn about food and weight loss.  This program has been a great success as they have measured a significant change in the body mass index of kids as they’ve progressed through the program.

The YMCA offers a wide variety of healthy and fun activities for kids and families year round.  It’s a wonderful place to engage in recreational activities, learn about different sports and fitness activities and connect with other members of our community. The YMCA has two locations; one in Downtown and one on Yelm Highway (Briggs). The Downtown YMCA may offer different programs than the Briggs facility, so make sure to either check their website or give them a call at (360) 753-6576.

Published on: January 27, 2011  

Healing Hearts Ranch

Healing Hearts Ranch rests on 23 acres in Tumwater. The therapeutic program, Heartstrides began in July 2010.  Their mission is to “create an environment for the empowerment of individuals and our community through the horse and human relationship”.

I met Kristy Dees the owner of the ranch and inspiration behind the therapeutic programs for children with special needs. Kristy’s philosophy is that children with autism, anxiety disorders, attention problems, Down Syndrome and other emotional and physical conditions connect with horses in a unique way, which fosters engagement, attunement, improved emotional control and improved self confidence.

Kristy explained that animals naturally respond to human emotions and give immediate feedback on their disposition. The feedback animals give us, she said, is immediate and requires us to adjustment if want our relationship with the animal to be positive and reciprocal. Kristy said that she takes a lot of time working with children to form this relationship.  This might involve the child coloring pictures of horses, using a mask of sorts, which gives the child a bird’s eye view of a horses’ field of vision, standing next to the horse and eventually taking the lead and observing how the horse responds to the presence and movements of the participant.  This process is done with close supervision, support and guidance, she said.  Families are encouraged to participate in every aspect of this process, she said.

Once the relationship is formed, skills relating to handing and riding a horse can be developed. Mastering these skills translates into children and adolescents experiencing improved self-confidence and self-esteem. Many of the skills learned through work and contact with horses generalize to home and school environments, Kristy said.

Healing Hearts Ranch offers a full lesson program for riders of all ages and abilities. They also work with children and adolescents with a wide range of psychical, emotional social conditions and work closely with Occupational and Physical Therapists for riders with special needs and conditions.

Please take a look at their website for additional information about their program philosophy, their therapeutic programs and fees.  You can also contact Kristy directly at, 360.539.7677.

Thanks for a wonderful tour of your ranch, Kristy!

Best Wishes,

Dave Callies, Psy.D.

Published on: August 24, 2010  


Summer is coming to a close, which means families are gearing up for the upcoming school year. It also means it is time for fall sports. There are a number of benefits to participating in sports programs. Not only do sports provide children with the opportunity to develop athletic skills, but they also help to improve health, as well as protect against obesity and depression. Regular participation in physical activity through sports helps to develop agility, coordination, endurance, strength, and flexibility. In addition, participation in sports helps children to develop important life skills including cooperation, leadership, self-confidence, problem-solving, and a positive self-image. It also gives children the opportunity to socialize with their peers and adults.

Luckily, our community offers a number of opportunities for youth sports. Specifically, the South Sound YMCA has a number of sports programs available this fall throughout the Thurston County area. These include basketball, baseball, volleyball, cheerleading, cross-country, and soccer for a variety of ages.

The YMCA Youth Sports Program’s philosophy emphasizes skill building, fitness, teamwork, fair play, and fun through participation in sports. They also provide unique opportunities for family involvement in physical activity, as 95% of the team’s coaches are parent volunteers. They’re always looking for volunteers, whether you’re a parent or not, because where there’s a coach, there’s a team. This program provides youth in our community with a wonderful opportunity to build new relationships and develop important skills through fun in physical activity.

In addition to the Youth Sports Program, the YMCA offers a Youth Strength Training Program for 9-14 year olds and allows youth, who are able to fully participate, to attend adult fitness classes. Be sure to check out their website for specific information regarding registration, fees and sports teams.

Gyro Psychology Services, Inc.

Published on: November 2, 2009  

Tumwater Bowling Lanes


The little 6 year-old dressed in bright pink jumped for joy as she watched her matching bowling ball soared across the lane toward the awaiting pins, gently bumping the helpful bumpers as it went along. Maybe not a strike, but she smiled gleefully as seven of the ten pins fell as the ball rolled into them. The family clapped and gave her meaningful high-fives as she sat down with a huge smile on her face to wait for her next turn.

That smiling face is what Tumwater Lanes is striving to accomplish from as many people as they can. Family operated, and family focused, Tumwater Lanes is proud of its safe, clean, and friendly establishment. It shows the patrons in the Tumwater and surrounding areas that their staff is interactive and supportive of all bowlers that come through their doors. Tumwater Lanes is on the smaller side with only 12 lanes, but it makes up for the size with their quality.  It is working on creating a balance between the league activity and the families that require a few lanes for some much needed quality time to reconnect and to enjoy the sport of bowling.

One of the most famous parts of Tumwater lanes is the Neon Nights bowling, that lets families and whoever else experience bowling under the glow of black lights. These nights happen every Saturday night from 9:00pm to 11:30pm, and reservations for lanes can be made for these nights. Also, reservations for birthday parties are available but they expect reservations
to be made one month in advance. Tumwater Lanes is located at 204 T Street SW, Tumwater, Washington.

The bowling leagues start with excited and eager 5 year olds and range all the way up to adults in their 60’s and 70’s. The junior league is for bowlers who are 13 to 20 years old. This group meets on Saturday mornings.

One thing that needs to be revealed is the fact that Tumwater Lanes give out scholarships to students that need them. The junior league coordinator, Sandy, is in charge of the scholarship program and they are trying to get the information about available scholarships out to the public. Sandy can be contacted by calling the main number at Tumwater Lanes, 360-943-1672. Please ask to speak to Sandy.

The in-store Pro shop sells balls, shoes, and bags to those who are interested in taking their bowling completely seriously. The Pro shop is a separate business that is located inside Tumwater lanes.  The operator of the pro shop is Mike and he offers some specials so that you can save money if you desire your own ball, bag or shoes. They have every size and weight available so even little kids can have their own specialized balls to make them feel like
a professional bowler.

My own personal experience with bowling has been enlightening. I bowl for my high school, Timberline, and during the season, we travel to the other bowling alleys to compete in matches. Tumwater Lanes is my personal favorite bowling alley in the area.  My scores are always higher when I’m at Tumwater Lanes, because of the helpful experience of the staff members and their willingness to give advice whenever it’s needed.

The greatest aspect of bowling is that is a team sport. It is refreshing to have the support and encouragement of your fellow bowlers. On my bowling team at Timberline we come up with cheers when someone gets a strike. We scream it at the top of our lungs and we use the legs of our teammates for the hand motions that match the song. High fives are distributed all around. Having teammates has helped me through the times when my bowling has been undesirable, because they encourage you to keep going even when it seems impossible. Bowling is a great team sport where children, and adults, can learn to work together and be cooperative and supportive of other people. It creates impenetrable bonds that can only be formed by teammates.

Public Hours:
Sunday noon – 4pm
Monday 3pm – 5pm
Tuesday 3pm – 5pm
Wednesday noon – 4pm
Thursday noon – 5pm
Friday 5pm & 9pm – 11pm
Saturday 2pm – 8pm

The staff at Tumwater Lanes is also proud to sponsor bowlers who are involved in the Washington State Special Olympics. Sandy stated that these bowlers have their own coaches and support staff and bowl at the lanes from September through October. The Special Olympic Candidates typically bowl on Sunday mornings.

While we’re on the topic of bowling, I’ve decided to write next week’s blog on the Special Olympics. Bowling, of all sports, is highlighted in the fall. The Special Olympics is world-wide. I will be taking a look at how this program can benefit you as a volunteer as well as how it can benefit the youth who are involved in it’s many programs.

Until next week…
-Nicole Mercer
Community Liaison

Published on: October 26, 2009  

Rutledge Corn Maze

The rain hammered down upon my head, and I pulled the hood of my sweatshirt over my soaking hair in a fruitless attempt to stay dry. The rain was coming down in buckets, but that did not hinder or destroy the fun that my group intended to have, and it didn’t. We weaved our way throughout the enormous (currently tank shaped) corn maze at the Rutledge farm last Saturday. Previous years had been drier, but that did not mean that this year would not be just as fun as the past years. We split into groups and we raced to the first of the two bridges that towered over the corn. My group was not too good at navigating the corn, and we ended up coming in last. We stood on the bridge and waved enthusiastically to the people below us and the people on the other bridge. It turned out that the maze is a great way to make new friends. Everyone is friendlier when they are happy and having fun and that’s why the Rutledge corn maze is such a great attraction for people.

Even though the maze was fraught with teenagers, it was also full of families that came out to enjoy some time together.  Little kids pulling their parents in the direction that they thought would lead them out and adults laughing every time they hit a dead end. The regular corn maze is fun for young families or even adults, but the haunted corn maze is more for the strong hearted. One of the most famous attractions at Rutledge is the haunted corn maze.  It begins at dark and features every kind of scary thing you can think of. It was designed to entertain the many teenagers and adults that flock to the maze at night to experience being chased by a masked man with a roaring chainsaw. Strobe lights are the only source of light throughout the haunted part of the maze, and many unexpected guests pop up around every corner. Exciting as it may be for the more mature-minded, it is not meant to be for young children. There are many other aspects of the farm that children can participate in, instead.    

Another part of Rutledge is the pumpkin patch that gives children of all ages access to pumpkins that they can choose for the family tradition of carving Jack O Lanterns. Pumpkins come in so many shapes and sizes that it’s fun to meander though the fields and discovering the pumpkin that’s just right for you and your family. If you look hard enough you will find perfectly shaped smaller pumpkins for younger kids. Looking over the pumpkins on a brisk fall morning is a fun way to connect with your children and enjoy the natural beauty of fall in the South Sound.

Don’t worry; you won’t go hungry while you are spending hours at the Rutledge farm because they offer many different kinds of foods. They offer various candy preferences, popcorn, soda, and even hot chocolate during the cold nights for only a dollar each. You don’t have to break the bank to get your kids the essential food nutrients that they need while you are spending some family quality time at the corn maze.
Although the corn maze may sometimes be more appealing to teenagers, and adults, Rutledge is still a great place to have family fun time by eating, pumpkin hunting, and getting lost and then found in some corn.

Next week, I’m off to talk with the people at Tumwater Lanes about all of the great programs they have available for kids & teens


Community Liaison