Laser tag keeps youth entertained

Stratton Chanes, 8, celebrates after winning a game during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Stratton Chanes, 8, celebrates after winning a game during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

With stealth and war cries, almost 30 kids participated in the Laser Tag Camp at Bluffs Park on Wednesday, July 23.

The camp is offered two times every summer, and has given children a way to make friends and have fun since 2009.

“Day camps provide the opportunity for participants to try a new program or enhance their skills in a specific sport or hobby,” said Katie Gallo, recreation coordinator for the City of Malibu, in an email. “Summer events are offered because the residents enjoy interacting with friends and neighbors at a fun community event.”

Eron Calip, recreational assistant for the City, enjoys watching the children interact during camp.

“I just love seeing the kids smile, especially when they’re playing games like this,” Calip said. “It’s really easy to work seeing them having fun.”

Charlie Rayner, 7, takes cover and shoots at his opponents during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Charlie Rayner, 7, takes cover and shoots at his opponents during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Laser Tag USA has run the camp for several years. The company is contracted by the City and provides all the equipment the children use.

Ruta McLinn, an employee of the laser tag company, has been involved with the summer camp for the last three years. She said the camp is beneficial because it allows kids to be active.

“It keeps the kids not sitting around on the couch,” McLinn said. “Running around outside, being outdoors — that’s why I believe it’s important.”

The camp is for children ages 6-13. Calip feels the children can get more out of the camp than just a fun time shooting at their friends.

“Even though [laser tag camp] is a fun camp, they’re still learning how to socialize [and] they’re exercising,” Calip said.

In addition to the laser tag camp, the City also offers other types of summer actives such as camps for surfing, video game design, music, engineering with Legos and more. The City offers a total of 46 camps over the summer, Gallo said.

“Having summer camps and community events reinforces the mission of the parks and recreation department to provide a variety of recreation programs for all ages designed to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Malibu,” Gallo said.

Ruta McLinn, a Laser Tag USA employee, tries to even up the teams during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Ruta McLinn, a Laser Tag USA employee, tries to even up the teams during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

The laser tag camp costs $150 for a week, which runs Monday through Thursday. Participants can also pay $40 per day if they choose.

The summer camps provided by Malibu are similar to those provided by the neighboring cities of Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. All camps offer a variety of activities in the areas of art, sports and other types of recreation.

Santa Monica camps do not offer daily rates like those of Malibu and Pacific Palisades, according to a City of Santa Monica brochure detailing the camps offered.

Calip said the camps are long enough so children have a decent amount of time away from their parents, but short enough so that parents can still have ample opportunity to spend time with their children.

Calip feels that children having a good time is the most important aspect of the City’s summer camps.

“As long as they’re having fun and they’re enjoying it, that’s all you can ask for,” Calip said.

Tijes Kline, 11, prepares to shoot at an opponent during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

Tijes Kline, 11, prepares to shoot at an opponent during the Laser Tag Camp on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Bluffs Park in Malibu, Calif.

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Malibu Presbyterian hosts surf camp for teens

Mike Morgan (center) teaches Grant Baer (left) and Carson Baer some surfing tips before getting into the water on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Calif.

Mike Morgan (center) teaches Grant Baer (left) and Carson Baer some surfing tips before getting into the water on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Calif.

Teenagers went to Third Point at Malibu Surfrider Beach on Thursday, July 17, for Surf’s Up, an unofficial surf camp for kids involved in the youth group at Malibu Presbyterian Church.

The weekly event is organized by Mike Morgan, youth director for the church. While he is not a certified instructor, Morgan uses his 17 years of surfing experience to teach kids the basics, such as how to properly stand on the surfboard and get over a wave.

“I go out there and I can push kids in the waves and give them tips, but I’m just a guy who cares about them and wants to teach them,” Morgan said.

Surf’s Up was started five years ago. The event is not limited to those who belong to the church, and is open to anyone who wishes to join, Morgan said.

Jake Hughes, 14, thinks the unofficial surf camp can help kids in the community become more involved with the church.

“It’s a lot of fun just to come down here and hang out, and it also gets other kids to come to church [and youth group] on Sundays,” Hughes said.

Grant Baer tries to stand up on his board on Thursdsay, July 17, 2014 at Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Calif.

Grant Baer tries to stand up on his board on Thursdsay, July 17, 2014 at Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Calif.

In addition to their weekly surfing gatherings, the youth group holds other events throughout the summer for its participants, such as camping trips, other surfing events, a house-boating trip, and others.

Grant Baer likes the social aspect of being involved in the youth group.

“I feel like it’s another way to bond with [my friends],” Baer said.

In the possible event of an emergency, Morgan said he relies heavily on the lifeguards on duty, but stressed that the kids are in good hands while under his supervision.

“I make sure that every time they come off their board that they turn around and give me a thumbs up,” Morgan said. “I’m always watching them.”

Morgan also said he always has a volunteer with him at all times watching kids who are on the beach.

Morgan said his favorite part of teaching surfing to kids is watching their faces light up when they successfully stand on their board.

“I love seeing kids super stoked on life and I love being able to celebrate them,” Morgan said.

A group of kids play in the water after their swim lesson on Thursdsay, July 17, 2014 at Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Calif.

A group of kids play in the water after their swim lesson on Thursdsay, July 17, 2014 at Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Calif.

Julia Rodriguez, who recently started interning under Morgan, said her experience being under his wing has been positive.

“It’s been amazing,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve just gotten to learn so much about what it is to minister to people. It’s just been great serving alongside with him and meeting the kids and being a role model-type person for them.”

Rodriguez said the most challenging part about working with kids is they like to amongst themselves at times, but appreciates when they start reaching out to her.

“The best part is when they do open up and communicate, they totally love you and want to share who they are and just want to be around you, want to be really open with you,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez feels that youth ministry is an important of a young person’s development.

“There’s people who have ministered to me all my life,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s important for that cycle to continue.”

Carson Baer (right) and Grant Baer (left) practice standung up on their surfboards on Thursdsay, July 17, 2014 at Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Calif.

Carson Baer (right) and Grant Baer (left) practice standung up on their surfboards on Thursdsay, July 17, 2014 at Malibu Surfrider Beach in Malibu, Calif.

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OLM church begins renovation project

From left to right: Chris Harrer, Cindy Dorn, Reverand Bill Kerze, Donna Noonan and Bill Noonan pose for a photo in front of the church during the groundbreaking ceremony of Our Lady of Malibu Church on Friday, July 11, 2014 in Malibu, Calif.

From left to right: Chris Harrer, Cindy Dorn, Reverand Bill Kerze, Donna Noonan and Bill Noonan pose for a photo in front of the church during the groundbreaking ceremony of Our Lady of Malibu Church on Friday, July 11, 2014 in Malibu, Calif.

After 43 years, Our Lady of Malibu is finally getting a renewed look.

Several parishioners gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony at Our Lady of Malibu Church on Friday, July 11, to celebrate the start of a large renovation project.

The project, which is already underway, seeks to make improvements to the church, Sheridan Hall and the elementary school in three phases, said Rev. Bill Kerze, pastor of the OLM parish.

The Renewal Campaign Committee was established in March to raise the $1.35 million needed to fund the renovations. The committee wrote letters, made phone calls and hosted cocktail parties for parishioners, and have raised almost $1.2 million to date.

“We’re very confident we’ll make the target within the next few weeks,” said Bill Noonan, co-chair of the committee.

Kerze was moved that he has almost reached the funding goal in such a short time, and said he hopes to exceed it.

“We have a lot of very, very generous parishioners,” Kerze said. “It’s just touched me very, very deeply how generous they have been.”

The first phase involves updating several aspects of the church, including the installment of a baptismal font, which is a basin-like piece of furniture in which people can be baptized. Other renovations include improving the acoustics inside the church and restoring it to its original architectural style, Kerze said.

Sheridan Hall will be updated during the second phase of the renovation, making the hall more easily accessible to parishioners with disabilities and improving the bathrooms in the building.

“I want to make it a place of true hospitality,” Kerze said of the hall. “A place that for whoever uses it can easily use it [and] secondly, is easy to maintain.”

Pictured: The front door of Our Lady of Malibu Church, which will be renovated in the coming months.

Pictured: The front door of Our Lady of Malibu Church, which will be renovated in the coming months.

The final phase of the project will upgrade the elementary school’s technological infrastructure by adding servers and expanding Internet bandwidth in classrooms, Kerze said.

Parish manager Peggy Thomas has been involved with the project since its inception — when the plan was only to build the baptismal font and the budget was a more modest $300,000.

In order to install the font, changes had to made to the steps leading up the altar, and then further modifications, suggested by the archdiocese, had to be made, Thomas said.

“It’s like when you change your kitchen or something and then all of a sudden, it kind of snowballs,” Thomas said. “A little thing like just the baptismal font turned into a whole huge renovation.”

The second and third phases of the renovation were not part of the original plan, and were added later, Thomas said.

“We decided that, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it all at once,” Thomas said. “And if you’re asking people contribute, it’s better to ask once than keep coming back.”

Noonan said that even though much work will go into modernizing the church, the goal is for the house of prayer to keep its “simplicity.”

“It’s just going to afford a more warming, comforting type of environment to the community,” Noonan said.

Cindy Dorn, a member of the renewal committee who was married in the OLM church 26 years ago, is glad the church is being updated.

“I’m excited that it’s happening,” Dorn said. “It’s time.”

A group of parishoners listen to Reverand Bill Kerze (forth from left) after the groundbreaking ceremony of Our Lady of Malibu Church on Friday, July 11, 2014 in Malibu, Calif.

A group of parishoners listen to Reverand Bill Kerze (forth from left) after the groundbreaking ceremony of Our Lady of Malibu Church on Friday, July 11, 2014 in Malibu, Calif.

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Residents celebrate July 4 in Malibu style

A line of decorated golf carts pass during the Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4, 2014 at Point Dume in Malibu, Calif.

A line of decorated golf carts pass during the Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4, 2014 at Point Dume in Malibu, Calif.

Before the sun shined through the clouds at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 4, the corner of Birdview Avenue and Bluewater Road was quiet.

Then, one by one, cars and golf carts, which were decked out in red, white and blue streamers, pinwheels, signs that read “USA” and American flags of all sizes, started to arrive.

Hundreds of Point Dume residents celebrated American independence with their 15th annual Fourth of July parade.

“It’s a great community event,” Malibu Mayor Skylar Peak said. “People get to spend time with their neighbors and bring friends and it’s very positive.”

Residents and their families participated by riding in their vehicles, riding decorated bikes or scooters and walking along the parade route.

Several parade-goers were dressed up in patriotic costumes of historical figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and the Statue of Liberty. Participants also brought their pets along and dressed them up in patriotic colors.

Veterans are honored on stage during a party after the Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4, 2014 at Point Dume in Malibu, Calif.

Veterans are honored on stage during a party after the Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4, 2014 at Point Dume in Malibu, Calif.

Alayna Ficklin wore a white, straight-haired wig and a dress that resembled the American flag, deeming her Miss America to some.

It was Ficklin’s fifth year participating in the parade.

“I love the people and all the laughter and smiles and everyone’s great attitude,” Ficklin said.

Actors John C. Reilly and John McGinley participated in the parade. Reilly rode on a bicycle while wearing a revealing Lincoln costume.

McGinley, a resident of Point Dume for 25 years, enjoys the neighborly feel of the annual event.

“For us, the more local, the better,” McGinley said. “This encourages neighbors to get together, to come out from behind their ficus fences and participate with one another. It’s great. It’s the only time anybody does it all year.”

Professional basketball star Kevin Garnett was in attendance with his wife and children, and it was their second year riding in the parade.

“This is solely a family celebration and we’re out here doing it as a family,” Garnett said.

Drivers of a decorated golf cart string along a man on a skateboard during the Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4, 2014 at Point Dume in Malibu, Calif.

Drivers of a decorated golf cart string along a man on a skateboard during the Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4, 2014 at Point Dume in Malibu, Calif.

Residents that were not actively participating in the parade were outside their houses, dressed in American colors and greeting the people and cars as they passed by. Several cars stopped on the parade route and the drivers in them took pictures or recorded video on their phones.

The parade culminated at the Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School, where a party was waiting for the participants. Food was sold and there was also a variety of live music.

A special ceremony was held for veterans who were present at the party, and awards were given to the best-costumed children and best-decorated vehicles after the parade.

The event was sponsored by the Point Dume Community Association. Susan Monus, member of the association, said Friday’s parade was the biggest in the event’s history.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Monus said. “It’s the biggest year ever.”

Monus has been a resident in Malibu for 24 years, and also enjoys participating in the parade.

“It’s really fun for me to see so many people that I know on an annual basis,” Monus said. “I see everybody’s children growing older. I am able to talk to everybody and communicate with them. It’s so much fun.”

Drivers of a decorated golf cart string along a man on a skateboard during the Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4, 2014 at Point Dume in Malibu, Calif.

Drivers of a decorated golf cart string along a man on a skateboard during the Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4, 2014 at Point Dume in Malibu, Calif.

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Ex-MLB star remains active in Malibu setting

Gabe Kapler’s career as a professional baseball player has taken him all over the country. He’s played for teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, where he won a World Series championship in 2004.

But for Kapler, Malibu has always felt like home.

“I grew up loving Malibu,” Kapler said. “I came to Zuma [Beach] as a kid, I took the beach bus and found my way here every summer.”

Kapler now operates a health and well-being blog called “Kap Lifestyle,” where he writes about subjects such as nutrition, fitness and even parenting.

Kapler said the idea for the blog was a culmination of the past 20 years of his athletic and fitness life.

“I had all these ideas flowing out of my head and I had no place to put them,” Kapler said. “While I had an outlet for my baseball interests, I didn’t have one for my fitness interests. So I decided to create one.”

In addition to posting every day for his blog, Kapler also enlists the help of other baseball players to write guest posts such as Evan Longoria and Brandon Guyer of the Rays.

Kapler said he uses his experiences throughout his baseball career to educate readers.

“The most important aspect of the blog is I try to communicate what I have learned over the years of playing baseball and experimenting as a lifestyle, well-being guy,” Kapler said.

Kapler is deeply active with the fitness community in Malibu, and said he trains daily at Malibu Fitness on Pacific Coast Highway. He likes being able to relate to other health and fitness enthusiasts.

“I can go there, I know that there are places to bounce ideas off of,” Kapler said of the local fitness center. “There is a way for me to inspire and be inspired in this community based on what I have learned in baseball.”

Kapler spends his days doing baseball analysis for several shows on the Fox Sports 1 channel. While he could be considered a celebrity due to his baseball success, Kapler said he goes relatively unnoticed in Malibu, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m just like everybody else, and I love that,” Kapler said. “If this was Boston, it would feel a little bit different.”

Kapler said the most difficult part of living in Malibu is his daily commute to his job at Fox, which is almost three hours round trip, but also said the drive is what makes Malibu so special.

“The same thing that will make you laugh will make you cry,” Kapler said. “It’ll make you cry because it takes forever to get here, but the reason it’ll make you laugh is because you don’t have to be close to the city.”

Kapler said that, aside from Malibu’s views, he enjoys the variety of “characters” he finds within the community.

“I think you get people here from all walks of life, and there’s actually a wide array of culture and people who are here sort of living out of their cars, and you have people with lots of dough and who are well taken care of,” Kapler said, “and I think they’re all equally adorable.”

When Kapler bought the property in Malibu, he decided to have it built smaller to encourage himself and his two sons — Chase,14, and Dane, 12 — to go outdoors.

“The No. 1 factor for me in Malibu is that we’re pushed outside,” Kapler said. “We are pushed away from our computers, we are pushed away from electronics and we venture out.”

Kapler and his family made the move to the city in April 2010. He said he can see himself retiring in Malibu.

“I love it here,” Kapler said. “I absolutely devour every day in Malibu. I love my home, I love my family here and there is no place I’d rather be. I can’t see myself living anywhere else.”

For more information, visit http://www.kaplifestyle.com

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