Free summer camp for kids

Children aged six to 10 are invited to attend a free week-long camp this summer at Prince Charles Park in Kamloops.

Generation Revolution Octane Week (GROW) will run July 19 to 23 from 9 a.m. to noon. Children will have a chance each day to explore the arts through drama, music, dancing and singing.
Kids can also watch a daily puppet show featuring Peter and Friends that not only entertains but also teaches children a positive lesson.

The puppet show is one of the most popular activities with the kids, said volunteer Rachel Bagan. Bagan helped plan the dance workshop and was also the emcee and puppet show’s host.
“They absolutely loved the puppet show. That is by far their favourite part,” she said. “We made it a practice everyday to interview the kids. We would bring them up and interview them. It’s quite interactive.”

She said the kids were able to relate well to the puppet characters like six-year-old Maria and eight-year-old Peter.

None of the volunteers had experience with puppetry prior to the camp. “A big group of us all kind of practised doing it and fooled around,” said Bagan.

But armed with some hand-me-down puppets, enthusiasm and lots of practice, the volunteers succeeded in creating an engaging act for the kids. They also write their own scripts.

The camp culminates with an afternoon barbecue on the last day of camp where the children put on a show for their parents.

“I love their energy and their enthusiasm,” said camp director Lydia McAndrew. “I just thought of this one girl who came last year. She played a part in the drama. Just the look on her face while she was performing at the end for her parents was worth the whole thing; it was so great.”

Led by GROW directors McAndrew and Ashley Relling, about 30 volunteers from Eruption Community Services make the free camp possible. The program is funded by donations from the community.
“The group that I am working with just want to make an impact in the community,” said McAndrew. “We didn’t see a whole lot of events catered for free especially for the children of the city and we really wanted to make something that they can all feel welcomed in.”

The highlight? “Just seeing the kids happy and seeing them have a good time,” said Bagan. “It’s exciting to see them light up and be proud of a dance move that they learned or an artwork that they made.”

Registrations are done by e-mail through local schools. Parents may also register their kids at the park on the day of the camp.

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