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Philanthropy Friday: YMCA Performing Arts Summer Camp

 Margaret Robinson, The Columbus Foundation Philanthropy Friday: YMCA Performing Arts Summer Camp
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Kabuki theatre, blues music, and African dance are all coming together to form an exciting experience at the Lincoln Theatre this summer. The YMCA of Central Ohio, Lincoln Theatre, and CAPA are running their third year of the collaborative YMCA Performing Arts Summer Camp at the historic theatre. This summer, over 500 central Ohio children, ages 8-17, are learning the history, techniques, and basics of music, theatre, and dance.

“It’s an incredible experience to have all these art forms in one place. It’s a melting pot,” said Greg Page, YMCA program director.

Throughout the summer, groups of YMCA campers come to the Lincoln Theatre for the one-week learning experience. The campers have a chance to sample music, dance, and theater before choosing one of the disciplines to focus on. The talented counselors from CATCO Phoenix, Columbus Jazz Arts Group, and the YMCA waste no time in preparing the kids for the weekly grand finale performance on the Lincoln Theatre stage.

“Kids that don’t think they can perform end up doing very well and building great confidence. It’s an experience they never forget,” Page said.

Before reaching the big Friday performance, campers work very hard to be prepared. On a recent morning, the music group was busy working on turning a Langston Hughes poem into a blues number. The campers were busy figuring out their parts while snapping and shaking their way through the blues. “Going down the road, help me carry the load,” the campers crooned.

Down one flight of stairs, dancing campers had taken over the ballroom as they polished their performance of West African dances for the big day.

“Kids succeed here because of the great leaders who share and expect honesty, respect, and caring,” Page said.

On the Lincoln main stage, campers in the drama tract rehearsed their Kabuki styled version on Cinderella.

“This camp opens up their creative minds, they learn to speak publicly and they learn about other cultures. They learn some Japanese, improv techniques, theatre terms, and how to project their voice. Everyone gets a speaking part or a chance to be a lead. They get loose and free on stage. They can find themselves without worrying,” said theater instructor Alayna Barnes.

Every week the campers do an amazing job on the grand finale performance and walk away from the experience with new friends, skills, and confidence. Proud smiles can always be seen as parents snap pictures from the audience.

“The Y is giving the kids something to do while broadening their horizons. Philanthropy is very important to keep this going,” Barnes said.

Learn more and donate to the YMCA of Central Ohio via their PowerPhilanthropy portrait.

Information about local nonprofits is available 24/7 through the Foundation’s online resource, PowerPhilanthropy, which is available to everyone who wants to be more informed about the nonprofits they care about. PowerPhilanthropy makes it easy to donate to the causes you care about at columbusfoundation.org/p2/.

Follow us on Twitter at @colsfoundation and like The Columbus Foundation on Facebook.

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