Summer Camps Spread Joy

posted Sep 9, 2019, 10:41 AM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Every year we at the San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center breathe a deep sigh of welcome relief and intense satisfaction at the end of another successful summer camp season. In all, over eighty children, ages five to thirteen, plus five teen counselors participated in this year’s camps, making it a summer we won’t soon forget.  

SPORTS CAMP kids played hard. Their constant shrieks of laughter and delight emanated from the Oak Tree School playfield and Lodge, uplifting all within earshot. As games were played and skills were honed, children made new and rekindled old friendships. SPORTS CAMP culminated with a celebratory picnic complete with a dodgeball tournament for campers, their families, and friends. When it was time to head home, campers bade one another farewell with a cheery “See you next year!” already anticipating pleasures yet to come.

After three very active weeks of SPORTS CAMP, summer reached its crescendo when ART CAMP commenced. Sandwiched into only five days, over forty young artists from kindergarten through eighth grade had a golden opportunity to experience dance, theater arts, painting, instrumental and vocal music, and ceramics. The cultural theme for this year’s ART CAMP was France. All the children learned to pronounce and understand a few French phrases, as well as sing some traditional French songs. The theater group staged a production of an adaption of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince.”

When a standing-room-only crowd of families and friends arrived at the Oak Tree Lodge to see this year’s production, they were greeted by a colorful exhibition of French Impressionist inspired paintings, brightly glazed ceramic beads and bowls, and several popsicle stick renderings of la tour Eiffel. Every young artist had pieces on display. Seven-year-old artist Oisin Murphy opened the show with a deep bow and a tip of his hat, welcoming the audience in beautifully enunciated French. Next the musicians and singers had a turn, delighting the audience with a versatile array of charming vocal and instrumental performances. The piece de resistance was “Le Petit Prince.” Young artists created costumes and sets. Young actors spoke their lines and hit their marks. Young musicians provided dramatic accompaniment. Young dancers were transformed into snakes, filling the room with elegantly performed choreography. The show closed with the entire company assembling on stage, singing “Alouette.” Families and friends stormed the stage with praise and wonder, truly amazed that their children were able to create and perform such a body of work in five short days. A punch and cookies reception followed the performance. Art was collected. Congratulations were given. Wide smiles and hardy hugs were exchanged as parents and children shared in the pride of accomplishment.

Although another season of camps has passed, our hearts are warmed by memories of children’s successes on the playing field, in the studio, and on the stage. San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center’s camps have only three simple rules: Be Kind. Be Safe. Have Fun! We are gratified and encouraged that young athletes and artists abided by these rules so willingly and so well. We, too, look forward to future camps and echo the campers’ cries, “See you next year!”