Tag Archives: camp fair

Theater works

Happy campers participating in Youth Works Academy through Theater Works in Peoria, which hosts a free Summer Camp Expo this Saturday

Theater works in all sorts of ways. Think jobs, creative outlets for artists, shared experiences for citizens, positive experiences for youth and more.

Theater Works in Peoria is introducing folks to its summer camp options for children and teens this Saturday via their 2nd annual Theater Works Summer Camp Expo, which features drama-related activities for children and the opportunity to talk with Theater Works youth program staff about summer camp options for preschoolers through teens.

More fun with Youth Works Academy

The Sat, March 31 event takes place from 11am-1pm. Admission is free, and lunch (think hot dogs) is included. Sometimes theater works for tummies too. Folks who attend can enter for the chance to win a pair of silver passes to Castles N’ Coasters. If you’re game, just RSVP by March 30 to Athena Hunting at 623.815.1791 ext. 107. Theater Works, by the way, is located at 8355 W. Peoria Ave.

Theater works as well in forming community collaborations, like the Theater Works partnership with Ro Ho En (the Japanese Friendship Garden) in Phoenix to present “Sakura no Ne” (“Root of the Cherry Tree”) April 13-22. Also in helping us reflect on historical events and their meaning for our lives. Hence the April 13-May 13 Theater Works production of “All Through the Night,” a play inspired by stories of German gentile women during and after the Third Reich.

Jay meets giggling girls during Youth Works Academy

Theater Works recently unveiled their 2012/13 season, which opens with “Doubt” and wraps up with “Accomplice.” In between, there’s everything from “The Music Man” and “A Christmas Carol” to “Burning in the Night: A Hobo’s Song” and “Musical of Musicals.” This season’s “A Little Night Music” opens tomorrow night — Wed, March 28.

When you hit this Saturday’s Theater Works Summer Camp Expo, be sure and ask about other ways they’re making theater work for youth — from theater workshops and classes to puppet shows and special programs for homeschool students.

When theater works, we’re all better for it.

— Lynn

Note: Theater Works is seeking designers for the 2012/13 season — and Robyn Allen is accepting resumes at rallen@theaterworks.org. Also, a friendly reminder — The Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards take place tonight, March 27, at the Herberger Theater Center. Click here for details.

Coming up: Fun with freckles!


Musings on “Me to We”

I first met the fine folks from “Me to We” while making a coffee run last year at the Phoenix Civic Plaza. I was attending the Arizona thespian festival, but happened on another conference while stepping out to Starbucks for a spell. It was sponsored by the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence, and they graciously let me take a spin through their exhibit area so I could connect with various purveyors of parenting-related fare.

While there, I encountered plenty of familiar faces, including folks from Workshops for Youth and Families and Arizona Dance Coalition. But also several resources I’d yet to encounter during my 20+ years of parenting — including “Me to We,” which describes itself as is “an innovative social enterprise that provides people with better choices for a better world.” I was intrigued because my kids have long been champions of social justice and volunteering.

I spied a book while there that I never got around to ordering, but spotted once again at this year’s Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair. It’s “The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care and Contribute” by Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger (founders of Free the Children) and Shelley Page (writer and mother of two children from China) — and they were kind enough to send me home with a copy to share with my kiddos, all in college and eager to change the world.

The book opens with a foreward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and an introduction covering “the three Cs” — compassion, courage and community. The book has 16 chapters organized around these three themes, with headings like “Find Your Passion,” “Curing the Gimmes” and “Learning Through Service.” Also “First Person” accounts from folks like Jane Fonda, Mia Farrow, Jane Goodall, Ellie Wiesel, Steve Nash, Jason Mraz, Desmond Tutu and Robert Kennedy, Jr.

I’ve read lots of books for youth about “being the change you wish to see in the world” (a phrase attributed to India’s Ghandi), and this is clearly among the best. It’s interesting and engaging, practical and inspirational. “The World Needs Your Kid” is an empowering read for children, teens and adults. There’s oodles of information conveyed in small snippets, and gorgeous photography throughout. Think quotes, tips for taking small actions every day, stories of ordinary people lifting others’ lives and more. Even a section near the back titled “100 Tips to Raise Global Citizens.”

Turns out “Me to We” also offers a variety of summer programs based at the Windsong Peace & Leadership Center — their 40-acre ranch in Patagonia, Arizona. Those noted on their RAK Camp Fair handout include a “Take Action Academy” (ages nine-19) June 24-30 and “Me to We Arizona Trip” (ages 12+) July 1-14. Also “Me to We Advanced Facilitation Training” (ages 16+ with extensive leadership experience) July 16-24 or Aug 21-29 and a “Me to We Arizona-Mexico Trip” (ages 12+) Aug 5-18.

While exploring both “Me to We” exhibits, I spied several fun trinkets my kids would love. Turns out you can explore the works of several artisans affiliated with “Me to We” online — so keep them in mind when shopping for birthdays, holidays, everyday lunchbox surprises and such. Seems you can even shop for social change these days.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about a variety of summer camps, many of which offer arts and culture experiences for children and teens. Click here to read a comprehensive review of “The World Needs Your Kid” from The Epoch Times.

Coming up: Going “Gatsby,” Dance meets dirt, Spotlight on “Sweeney Todd”

Sunday at Seton

My ears perked up a few days ago when I heard talk of Seton Hall in New Jersey tied to this weekend’s NCAA “Selection Sunday.” It reminded me of a recent Sunday afternoon spent at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler, site for day two for this year’s Raising Arizona Kids Magazine camp fair.

Before entering the school gymnasium filled with summer camp providers from Arizona and several other states, I was greeted by three very polished and professsional students who took great delight in telling me all about the school’s visual and performing arts programs. A mural painted on a nearby wall should have been my first clue. This school takes both art and athletics seriously.

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I had a great time chatting with the many camp fair exhibitors whose offerings include arts and crafts fair. Some, like Voices Studio, specialize in the performing arts. Others, including venues like Mesa Arts Center, offer camps in visual and performing arts. Many exhibitors, including city parks and recreation departments, offer the arts in addition to other popular activities like athletics.

And plenty of camps offer non-arts fare that appeals to other interests — fencing, gardening, swimming, forensic science and such. My favorite find was a camp that brought a baby goat along, who seemed perfectly content to lounge around the Graco portable crib that looked just like the one my babies used to sleep in during visits to grandma’s house.

After chatting with lots of lovely camp fair folk, I snagged a tour of Seton’s arts facilities with the school’s director of admissions. A fine arts and academic classrooms building opened last fall houses a 400-seat theatre, 14 multi-purpose classrooms, a music computer lab, two art rooms for painting and ceramics (equipped with pottery wheels), a film production studio and a fully-equipped dance studio.

Seton’s fine arts department provides classes in drama, choir, band, orchestra, dance, visual arts and computer graphics, film production and photography. They present several theater performances and hold several fine arts nights each year  — in addition to band, choir and dance festivals, as well as community arts events and a hip hop competition.

Remember to ask about arts programs, and arts integration with other academic subjects, when considering schools for your children. And to explore the offerings of all our camp fair vendors as you’re looking for programs to match your children’s needs and interests.

— Lynn

Coming up: Remembering Japan, Get Creative!

What a circus!

In parenting world, circus marvels are never more than a few steps or a couple of minutes away. Balancing the needs of vastly different siblings seems a sort of high wire act, while handing off the baby care baton mid-diaper change is an entirely different feat. The endless dance between dirty dishes and clean feels more challenging than trapeze work, and acrobatics look easier by far than enforcing curfews or limits on the digital daze.

The Australian troupe Circa performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts this month

Seems circus fare is all the rage in performing arts world these days, though traveling three-ring shows of the sort I grew up with are few and far between. Folks with a penchant for circus arts will be pleased to know that several circus acts are headed our way — none of them involving our children, spouses or partners.

A company of “new circus” artists out of Australia performs a family show at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Sat, March 17 — described by the venue as a blend of “bodies, light, sound and new media.” Seems the troupe’s seven members, who call themselves Circa, “perform daredevil acrobatics and tumbling, thrilling dance moves and impossible contortions” — all “synchronized to stylish music.” They’re also presenting a pair of adult shows for those who favor more mature fare.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents an “Arts Connect” student matinee called “Circa: 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes” Tues, March 13. Billed as “circus without the boring bits,” it’s a family-friendly performance featuring “a lightning-fast display of extreme tumbling, juggling and balance.” That’s all good and fine, but can they convince our children to stop erasing the chore chart?

A Canadian troupe brings 7 Fingers: PSY to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in May

Another bit of “cirque nouveau” hits Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts May 18 and 19 as Canadian circus artists 7 Fingers “use the life-affirming language of the circus arts to…take a humorous odyssey through a shifting landscape of distorted visions, fading dreams and fractured memories.” Sounds a tad like the artistry of giving “the birds and the bees” lecture, or the lingering trauma of teaching your own teens to drive.

In addition to “7 Fingers: Psy,” the group is presenting a “Circus Workshop with 7 Fingers” May 18 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. It’s limited to 40 participants ages 12 & up, and a “basic knowledge of gymnastics is suggested.” Never mind that you can balance twins while buying groceries and sipping a latte. That doesn’t count. Folks who attend should wear clothes they can move in, and be ready to learn basic circus tricks skills like tumbling, hand balancing and building human pyramids.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus performs June 27-July 2 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, so Valley families can enjoy a diverse assortment of circus performers in coming months. Folks eager to give the circus arts a try can check out the Circus School of Arizona in Scottsdale or circus camps like those offered by RAK Camp Fair participant Independent Lake Camp in Pennsylvania.

Let’s face it, there’s at least a little bit of circus in us all.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the American Youth Circus Organization, and here for information on May performances of “Big Bug Circus” by Great Arizona Puppet Theater.

Coming up: 100 + shows and plenty more to go…

Update: I learned while reading The New York Times that 7 Fingers is working with folks developing a revival of Stephen Schwartz’s “Pippin” (one of my daughter Lizabeth’s favorite musicals). There is, after all, magic to do. 3/9/12

What I learned at summer camp…fair

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Remember all those back-to-school essays teachers used to assign after summer breaks — most expecting a gripping account of summertime adventures. I’d have written far better answers had I attended all the camps I’m exploring at this weekend’s Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair, where I’m learning all sorts of things.

I discovered on Saturday, for example, that it’s impossible to tell which of two napping ferrets is named “Romeo” and which is named “Juliet.” It’s best, I think, to let sleeping ferrets lie.

I learned that Linda Pullinski, a painter who works with the Scottsdale Artists’ School, longs to try her hand at the flying trapeze — something Nigel of the Independent Lake Camp says they offer as part of their circus camp (kids can circus now, but an adult circus experience is in the works).

Pullinski reminded me of something I’d known but forgotten — that kids can get creative with the simplest of objects. While some art camp exhibitors opted for paint, she let kids play with all sorts of animals and such made with colorful pipe cleaners. It’s all good, of course. The more art experiences the better.

A bevy of bunnies atop the Crazzy Wasewagan’s Camp & Retreat table reminded me that bunnies, whether California or Arizona-grown, love to munch on juicy apples. At other booths featuring animal fare, I discovered that reptiles and octopus are more mum about their snacking habits.

I watched a woman at the Northern Arizona University table showing children different marks made by various creatures in a couple of logs and bits of bark she’d brought along, and remembered how important it was to know such things when my children were little.

I discovered that kids will be baking Hamentashen stuffed with chocolate, raspberry or apricot at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center today as they learn about the history of Purim and its traditions. And that they’re holding a Passover celebration called “Chocolate Seder”on April 1.

Lee Cooley with Valley Youth Theatre shared the news that VYT alumnus Nick Cartell will be rocking the swing thing when a revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar” opens on Broadway in March. Soon they’ll need to turn their poster featuring famous folks who’ve trained and performed with VYT into a wall mural.

And I learned from Linda with Montessori Academy Smart Camps that they’re working to become trailblazers of sorts — having kids grow the food they prepare in a culinary program on site in their very own community garden. Michelle Obama, take note.

By now I’ve surely supassed the length of your average “what I learned at summer camp” essay, so I’ll save the rest of my 2012 Camp Fair musings for future posts — and hope you get a chance to make some fun discoveries of your own at today’s Camp Fair session at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler.

— Lynn

Note: I’ll be updating this post with more photos after attending Sunday’s Camp Fair in Chandler — and writing more about arts camps who participated in future posts.

Coming up: What a ham!, Got glass?

Two fairs, three festivals

Unplug the kids this weekend for a bit of camp fair and festival fun

I’m heading out this morning, and tomorrow, to enjoy this year’s Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair — taking place at the Tesseract School Shea Campus in Phoenix (Feb. 25) and the Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler (Feb. 26). I’m especially eager to chat with folks from all the camps offering visual and performing arts fare.

I’ll have plenty of good choices for weekend fun, including three festivals, once I get my Camp Fair fix — a Black History Month festival in Peoria, a Matsuri festival in Phoenix and a Sunday A’Fair “mini-festival” in Scottsdale.

The Black History Month celebration in Peoria actually kicked off last night with a jazz concert featuring Dennis Rowland, but those of you who missed it will be pleased to know that he’s also part of a concert taking place at the Herberger Theater Center Mon, Feb. 27 to benefit Actors Theatre (which also stars Walt Richardson, and Bob Sorenson as master of ceremonies).

The Black History Month Festival happens today from 10am to 7pm in Osuna Park in Peoria (83rd and Grand Aves.). I’m told they’ll have live music, vendors, community and medical service stations, and a kids zone — plus lots of information and educational materials. Admission to the festival is free, and the day also includes a tribute to the late Whitney Houston.

Sunday A’Fair in Scottsdale takes place Sun, Feb. 26 from noon to 4pm on the large lawn adjacent to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Admission to this baby is free as well.

This week’s Sunday A’Fair features the Chuck Hall Band playing “a spicy Texas stew of originals and unique blues-based standards” from noon to 1:30pm and Powerdrive playing “Red-hot salsa dance numbers, R & B, classic oldies and Tex-Mex.”

Sunday A’Fairs also take place March 4 & 25 and April 1 & 8 — and each features different concert fare. All include a fine arts and crafts market, activities for children and free admission to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Arizona Matsuri, the 28th Annual Festival of Japan, hits Heritage and Science Park in downtown Phoenix both Sat, Feb. 25 and Sun, Feb. 26 from 10am-5pm. It features exhibits, demonstrations, arts and crafts, children’s activities and three stages with live entertainment. Plus Japanese food and bonsai displays.

Folks dressed in Japanese attire are invited to participate in the Matsuri parade that starts at 10:10am today (start gathering at the Plaza Stage around 9:45am).  An opening ceremony at 10:30am this morning features Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan’s ambassador to the United States.

Festival organizers note that “flowering cherry trees have seen symbols of Japan’s friendship to the people of America for 100 years.” In 1912, more than 3,000 cherry trees were gifted from the Tokyo to Washington, D.C. so 2012 has been dubbed the Japan-U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial.

Enjoy all these fabulous fairs and festivals while you can. In another couple of months the only things we’ll be celebrating are ice cubes and air conditioning.

— Lynn

Note: Ice cube meets art at the corner of First St. and Brown Ave. in Scottsdale, where you’ll find a 2006 work created with concrete, forged iron and pavers that also includes a rose, cowboy boot, boxing glove and more. It’s “Hidden Histories for Old Town Scottsdale” by Elizabeth Conner with Benson Shaw, Duke Grenier, and Tawn Endres.

Coming up: Starry, starry playwright

Camp meets creativity

Youth enjoying a spring break camp at Mesa Arts Center last year

In a perfect world, our schools would be overflowing with art classes and academic classes integrating the arts into everything from history to science. Families would spent weekends taking children and teens to local libraries and museums. Children would race home after school to create their own puppet shows or paintings with recyclable materials or inexpensive supplies.

Youth enjoying a summer camp at Phoenix Theatre last year

But worries about time, money and plenty of other factors too often get in the way — and today’s kids are getting a raw deal in the arts and culture department.

Summer camps are a way to fill that void. They help children and teens discover the joys of creative expression, connect with friends who have similar interests and learn new skills rarely taught at home or school.

I’d like to say that my kitchen table was always covered with canvas and paints, but it wasn’t. And the sheets my kids loved to throw over the dining room table for pretend play spent too much time in the linen closet.

My children are all in college now, but it was tough to find the best camp fit when they were younger. Today parents have resources that add a “one-stop shopping” element to the whole experience — like the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine summer camp directory, and their annual camp fair.

This year they’ve expanded the Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair to two days, and I’m eager to attend both days so I can meet and chat with all the folks offering camps that feature visual and/or performing arts.

It’s a great way to see what’s out there for children and teens in areas like dance, music, theater, film and visual arts — though I have to confess that I’m easily distracted by all the other camps I find there, especially when animals are involved.

Youth enjoying Camp Broadway 2007 at ASU Gammage

I’m told there are still a few spaces in case any of you want to jump in at the last minute to let folks know about your own camps for children or teens. If you’re a parent seeking summer camp options, you’re wise to start the search now. I learned the hard way too many times just how quickly some of these camps fill up every year.

Youth enjoying a spring camp at Valley Youth Theatre

We sometimes get so busy with our daily lives that we forget to make time and space for our children and teens to explore new ideas and activities, to experiment with materials rarely enjoyed at home or in the classroom, to interact with other youth in positive settings that foster social and emotional skills.

Thankfully, there’s a camp for that.

— Lynn

Note: To learn more about securing exhibit space for your organization at the 2012 Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair, call the magazine office at 480-991-KIDS (5437).

Coming up: History in your hometown