When the bell rings on Monday, more than 100 Craig Intermediate School students will be content to stay right where they are.
They're students who signed up this week for Recreational After-school Doorway (RAD), a program that offers a plethora of after-school activities for fifth- and sixth-grade students.
"There's really a need for activities for that age group," RAD Coordinator Diane Gould said. "They're too old for daycare, but too young to be home alone."
Students can sign up for several of the 23 programs offered during the program's fall semester.
All activities are free and students can enroll in as many as they have time for.
Offerings include the popular rock climbing, horseback riding, junior attorney and junior police.
"It's really fun," sixth-grader Ashley Kaiser said. "They always manage to make everything fun even when you don't think it will be."
This year will be Kaiser's second in the program. Her other options are going home after school to an empty house or hanging out with her mother at the coin-operated laundry where she works.
Programs constantly change as Gould discovers what works and what doesn't and what's most popular.
Rock climbing has been expanded from one to two courses, providing spots for 10 more youths.
Even that's not enough -- nearly every student who signed up listed rock climbing as a preferred course.
Because of that, students are asked to chose alternatives.
Kaiser wants to be in horseback riding, but wouldn't mind taking a "safe sitter" course, which teaches safety, games and good babysitting techniques.
Other new programs are junior attorney, in which students put together a mock trial, and "beautiful you," in which students work with cosmetology students to learn to apply make-up, paint their nails and style their hair.
Also new this year is "mega-byte me" a cooking and nutrition program using computers.
RAD is funded 100 percent by private donations and grants, including a 4-year grant from the Colorado Trust, which is set to expire this year.
Gould said RAD is successful only because volunteers run the programs.
"There have just been so many people in the community who are so supportive," Gould said.
The fall semester begins Monday. Students meet in the CIS cafeteria where they get a healthy snack. Then, some stay at the school for programs and others are bused to a site.
"The school's been a huge supporter," Gould said. "It's been a great partnership."
Nineteen high school students work with the program and are given school credit for their volunteer work.
RAD has had as many as 180 enrollees, meaning 250 to 280 youth a week participated -- several enrolled in more than one program.
RAD brochures are available in the CIS front office and can be returned there.
The fall semester runs through November. The winter semester begins in January and the spring in April.
For more information, call 826-0199.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at email@example.com.