Laramie has a plethora of options for our youth, from academic clubs to sports of all varieties. YAK at the Albany County Public Library is yet another.

YAK is an activity-centered club; this summer they’ve bound their own books, learned about Japanese culture, and yesterday, they block printed.

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YAK is a social club for teens and tweens, where they can engage in crafting, activities, games, or just hang out and eat snacks. They meet on Thursdays from 3:45-5 p.m. Program coordinator Clara Robbins said “The purpose is to provide entertainment and social opportunities. They make friends and build community.”

Robbins, who’s been in charge of YAK since January 2021, puts together a wide range of activities for the group. This summer, a partnership with the University of Wyoming Art Museum produced YAK Around Town, which created culturally and tactically immersive experiences.

On Thursday, July 27, the group tried their hands at block printing with local artist Ashley Quick, who is a member of the Laramie Public Art Coalition. “This is my primary medium,” Quick said, “it’s really adaptable for age, skill level, and budgets.”

“I picked it because it’s not going to look realistic; there’s not as much pressure for it to look perfect. They can let go a lot more. They can just ‘be.’”

For YAK member Milo Dermer-Nunez, it was a tie for his favorite activity of this summer’s program. “It was either this or tanabata,” he said. Tanabata, Robbins added, “Is the Japanese star festival. We made ornaments and wishes for our bamboo tree.”

Robbins invited Yuki Ayukawa, UW’s Japan Outreach Initiative coordinator to YAK for the activity. Robbins said another favorite was bookbinding, where “they got to make their own journals. One participant designed wrote, and bound his own picture book.”

YAK is a year-round program, with small breaks between each season. The summer session ends Aug. 17, with the fall session starting Sept. 12.

“With so many competing activities in town, it’s nice to offer yet another option,” Robbins said.

The library offers many other activities for youth, such as superhero and princess parties, Lego club, musicians, and movies. For a list of current activities, visit the ACPL website.

Laramie YAK program

The Albany County Public Library's social club for teens and tweens creates screen printing pieces.

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