Thursday, April 24, 2014

Scranton Cultural Center unveils new summer camp

January 12. 2014 11:41PM
RALPH NARDONE Times Leader Correspondent

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SCRANTON — Young arts devotees will be able to attend a newly formed youth summer camp offered this coming summer at the Scranton Cultural Center.

On Saturday about 300 potential campers attended a free open house set up at the center to introduce the inaugural camp. The attendees were able to get information about this year’s camp and enjoy a free puppet show and musical theater workshop.

Organizers are confident the camp, which is sponsored by the center’s Creative and Performing Arts Academy, will be successful.

“We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community,” said Dawn McGurl, programming director at the center. “We’ve gotten letters and emails from people thanking us. … That’s encouraging ”

McGurl said the camp will include a summer stage geared to young “actors, singers and dancers” in fifth through 12th grades and the Little Dragon Playhouse, which will provide a “safe and fun environment” for pre-K through fourth grade children. The camps run from June 23 to Aug. 22.

“The children will spend their summer days creating, expressing, collaborating and performing,” she said.

The center’s management believes the camp is a way to offer an arts education to the local children, McGurl said. It also allows the community to take advantage of the historic arts-enriched building, she added.

Sheri Melcher, the summer stage musical director and seasoned professional musician, said the camp is needed for the “under-served” demand for youth arts programs locally.

With arts being cut back at the schools, any educator would agree with what the center is doing, she said. Children need arts and this camp will give them a way to participate in the arts while having a fun and fulfilling summer experience, she added.

Melcher is one of the highly credentialed arts professionals who will be driving the camp. Tina Sohns-Williams, who has been teaching dance for 28 years, will act as choreographer and Bill Mutimer, a performer with 40 years experience, will direct.

McGurl emphasizes the main focus for the camp will be fun. The little dragons will do some “slapstick” and some “movin’ and groovin’,” she aid. The summer stagers will visit Broadway in New York City and act out “Beauty and the Beast.”

The center’s new executive director Michael Melcher spearheaded the camp by asking his managers to come up with a program that offers an artistic community outreach where local children can have a good time.

“It’s amazing what kids can learn when they’re having fun,” Melcher said.

Anyone interested in the camp can visit www.Scranton for more information.

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