Summer camp an ‘awesome’ experience

Friday, April 15, 2016

Shelley Koppel
Staff writer

MARTIN COUNTY — The Lyric Theatre’s AWESOME! Summer Camp has two session and two themes. The first session, June 13-July 1, is called “All the World’s a Stage”. Campers will learn about customs and cultures from around the world. The second session, July 11-29, is “Where the Wild Things Are.” Campers will deal with all creatures great and small, as they learn about the animal kingdom, conservation and ecology. Each session ends with the “Sharing,” a live presentation that emphasizes the themes. There are roles on stage and behind-the-scenes, so no one feels left out.

Lyric's AWESOME! Summer Camp is for 1st to 8th graders and takes place at Flagler Place in downtown Stuart. In addition to working on projects connected to the themes, campers rotate among drama, dance and music each day. In drama, there is acting, creative writing, staging and improvisation. For music, campers learn fundamentals of singing and rhythm. In dance, instructors will introduce campers to music theater, dance jazz, ballet and hip-hop.

Since it’s a camp, there will also be “camp” things to do, including movie days, Field Day games and arts and crafts.

Karin Leone is the Lyric Theatre’s director of education and operations coordinator. The AWESOME! Summer Camp is very close to her heart.

“For ‘All the World’s a Stage,’ our intent is to explore different customs of countries around the world,” she said. “It’s not just in the arts. “We’ll explore and reinforce tolerance and acceptance for cultural practices and religions. With the summer programs, it’s about character-building and tolerance and acceptance of our core values we try to instill in our campers. We want kids to understand we’re all human beings. We get a nice, diverse group of kids and we hope kids will share about their cultures. At our core, we’re all human and even though we express ourselves differently, we’re all part of the human family.”

Leone said that the second session, “Where the Wild Things Are,” is focused on conservation and ecology.

“I picked the theme because it’s open to anything,” she said. “It could be the animal kingdom or humans. The messages are taking care of the planet, each other and animals. There will be fun activities and special guests, perhaps with wildlife presentations. It will be fun for little kids to dress up like animals and sing.”

The days starts with a rotation of music, drama and dance, with campers grouped by age. Those campers who are more comfortable behind-the-scenes, can participate in classes and be part of the crew, working on set design and stage management, “All position are equal in importance,” Leone said. “If you take out one cog, the whole thing falls apart.”

Leone said that parents shouldn’t worry that their kids won’t get exercise.

“We wear them out really well,” she said. “Even though the performing arts is the focus, we try to incorporate things people associate with summer camp. We have a Field Day and a playground outside. We play ball. I choose staff counselors with strengths in various areas. For sports, we pick a recreation director. I pick counselors who are strong in various areas so we have a well-rounded program.”
While the camp is not specifically equipped for special needs children, campers on the autism spectrum and with Down syndrome have attended.

“It’s a nice part of the program to have these kids, who are often kept separate in school,” she said, “It’s really wonderful to watch the kids interact.”

The Lyric’s Awesome! Summer Camp will take place June 13-July 1 and July 11-29. Tuition is $395 for the three-week session. There is a $25 registration fee and a 10 percent discount for siblings.

Camp is held Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Flagler Place, 201 S.W. Flagler Ave., Stuart.

For more information contact director of education Karin Leone at (772) 220-1942, ext. 205.