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|Summer in motion at Kiroli Park|
Cyclops, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster are tromping through Kiroli Park for the next two weeks as local children participate in the 33rd Annual Kiroli Arts Day Camp.
The first session of day camp began this week, focusing on a monster theme.
Children are learning dance moves to the Monster Mash and Michael Jackson's Thriller, making monster art work and reading about famous monsters like Frankenstein.
The first session ends June 5. There are four sessions in all this summer, and spots are still open for the next three sessions.
About 100 children enrolled for the first summer session.
West Ridge Middle School 7th grade teacher Morgan Burford is one of the teachers. This is her first year at Kiroli Arts Day Camp.
She is joined by her 5-year-old son, Blayne, who also is attending the arts camp for the first time.
"It's a lot of fun," Burford said. "It keeps the children active and engaged and that's what I like to see. Instead of sitting at home in front of the TV, they are involved in fun activities throughout the summer."
"It's especially good for those kids who are too old to go to day care, but too young to stay at home alone," she said. "It's perfect for them. They get to learn different things in a cool setting."
Burford taught physical education at West Ridge Middle School, so she is a big proponent of keeping children active.
"This is a great time for them to do that," she said. "They play hard and enjoy the day and when they leave they are worn out. My son is exhausted when he gets home. He's hard to keep entertained. He's all boy and you have to keep him entertained, but he loves this. He jumped up this morning and was ready to go."
Burford is teaching drama to the youth at the arts day camp. Parents attend the camp on the last Friday of each session. Their children perform skits to showcase the songs and dances they learned during the day camp.
The name of this year's play is "When Monsters are Born." It's about the different paths monsters can take. Monsters can choose to be good, or bad, Burford said.
"There's two different scenarios about what a good monster does and what a bad monster does," she said.
She encouraged parents to check out the other remaining sessions of Kiroli Arts Day Camp. The next session begins June 8 and runs through June 19. The third session is June 22-26, and July 6-10. The last session is July 13-24.
"I think this is a great thing to bring their kids to get them active and engaged and off the couch during the summertime," Burford said. "Plus, they get to meet new friends. These are kids from all different schools."
Shannon Pittard, a 9th grade teacher at West Monroe High School, is an instructor at the arts camp for the second consecutive year.
She also encouraged parents to consider sending their children to the arts camp.
"This really is the closest thing to a fun outdoor school," Pittard explained. "They are learning, they're having fun, and they're meeting kids from all over. This just reminds me of all the field trips we took when I was little. You know how much fun it was to get on the bus and go somewhere? The little ones just love you and they love coming here. That's why I wanted to do it."
The camp is open to children ages 5 to 12. Children are supervised by certified teachers during the class day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. After the class day, campers participate in free play or tennis instruction. Care is provided from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tuition is $135 for one session.
For more information about Kiroli Park Arts Day Camp, contact Kathy Leonard with the Ouachita Parish School Board at 396-6753.