Things for kids to do in Shelby this summer

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From the library to the theater to history, Shelby County tries to fill the needs of idle students.

By Spencer Jenkins

Kids in Shelby County are now into their 10-week vacations from school, but their parents still have to work, with maybe a week or some days off here and there.

Working parents count on the hours that students are in classrooms to consume a lot of those work hours, but in the summer, there is a scramble to keep those kids busy.

And in Shelby County, there are numerous programs designed to keep keeping children and teens busy and parents worry free.

For instance, Sherry Bogard, youth services librarian at the Shelby County Public Library, said the library’s goal consists of pulling young readers into the library by offering weekly free programs.

“They love it; the parents love it,” she said. “We have approximately two thousand kids in the community who participate in these events.”

Many kids involve themselves in the program, Bogard said, based on the requirements of the school system, and she said she feels like the library programs keep them from falling short.

“My philosophy is they have to read to succeed,” she said. “They work hard all summer long.”

Bogard said if children don’t read over the summer they forget the information they have learned in school and teachers must revamp the learning in the fall.

Along with young readers, Bogard has a team of middle-school and high-school student advisory boards that help select the programs.

“We came up with a whole list of activity events,” she said.

One of the events includes a lock-in that the teen advisory board organized, she said.

According to the library’s summer calendar, TAB also organized an ice cream social, a glow stick photography session with the teens, a splash in dash where kids enjoy slip and slides and other water fun and a story hour every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Dana Swallows has two daughters, ages 8 and 5, who partake in the library programs.

She said it’s a great way to have kids active and involved while they’re out of school. Also, by filling out their reading logs they’re able to earn free books and other perks such as tickets to the Riverbats’ games.

“It helps the pocket a little bit,” Swallows said. “It’s also a way for them to still see kids that they went to school with during the summer and connect with kids that they might not see in their school during the summer.”

The library program itself has installed a love of reading in her daughters that is priceless to her, she said. It lets them know that reading is not just for school by also for fun.

In addition to the library’s activities, the Shelby County Community Theatre had three separate workshops for different age groups from 9 a.m. to noon that concluded this week.

Students will participate in a culminating performance tonight at 7 with director Cyndi Powell Skellie.

The workshops include Page to Stage for ages 7 to 11 where participants use poetry to create movement and scenes, she said. They will study voice and diction, blocking and ensemble work.

There is also Musical Theatre workshop for ages seven to 17. They will learn to sing three songs and basic musical theatre choreography and components of staging a musical number.

The third workshop called Creating a Scene for ages 12 to 17 has participants studying voice and diction, blocking, movement, non-verbal communication and ensemble work and Students work on 2- and 4-person scenes to perform on Friday.

Coming up this week is a history camp at Red Orchard Park, starting Tuesday and running three days.

The Shelby County Historical Society sponsors the camp, and this is its fifth annual year sponsoring it, coordinator Michelle DeEsch said.

“Each year we showcase a different area of Shelby County History,” she said. “Last year we focused on World War II, and this year we are focusing on pioneer times on Shelby County with an emphasis on the 1780s to 1790s.”

The kids will be building Painted Stone Station as well as a Native American village, she said.

“Our campers will experience both white pioneer life and Native American culture,” she said. “It looks to be a lot of fun this year and our camp fills up so fast.”

The kids will be doing things they don’t normally do, DeEsch said.

“They sat in school all year long and learned stuff out of books, now it’s time to put your hands on something and learn something,” she said. “Where else are you going to build a fort?”