Torch dancing, movie making, flying trapeze and … work?

| March 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

FOURTH GRADER James Theiss enjoyed acting and filming during movie week at JCamp. Photo by Lisa Kors

Spring has barely begun, but already local kids and teens are looking forward to their summer plans.

A common option for the younger set is to attend nearby day camps.

Ezra Shapiro, a rising kindergartner at Wagon Wheel, spent two weeks last summer at the Wild Folk day camp that operates out of the Fairfax Campus of the Larchmont Charter School.

His most exciting day was the last day, when there was hula-hooping, music and, most memorably, torch dancing.

“They were holding the fire, and then they were waving it around!” Shapiro said.

His mother, Melissa Shapiro, expects to send him back again this year and possibly to the Hollywood Schoolhouse day camp as well.

Brothers George, 9, and Freddy Fogarty, 5, attended Camp Tocaloma, a day camp located just off of the 405 at the Berkeley Hall School. Tocaloma camps have been a fixture of Southern California since 1945.

According to their father, John Fogarty, the brothers likely will attend either Tocaloma again this summer or the tennis camp at the Wilshire Tennis Club, which has the added appeal of schedule flexibility.

“You can just go whenever you feel like it,” Fogarty said.

Julie Breaux, mother to James, 6, Ensley, 5, and Collin, 2, had a good experience last summer with Camp Galileo in West Hollywood, a day camp that emphasizes innovation through play.
One highlight for James was medieval week, where they built cardboard castles.

“I like that they have a playground,” James added.

For the past few summers, fourth-grader James Theiss, 9, has attended JCamp, the day camp located in the Westside Jewish Community Center on Olympic Boulevard. He expects to return this year as well. Campers sign up for weeklong sessions, with each week exploring activities centered on a different theme.

His favorite week last summer? Movie week, when the campers participated in the acting and making of a film.

“I also liked being the bad guy in it,” Theiss said.

Chloe Gillen, a seventh grader at St. Brendan’s, will travel a little further, taking the ferry to a sleep-away camp called Camp Fox on a Catalina Island beach.

This summer will be her third year at the YMCA camp, which offers its campers ocean adventure, marine biology and other social activities.

“I enjoy sleep-away camp much more than local camps. It’s usually more fun and you always meet new people,” Chloe said.

Her mother, Alyssa Gillen, theorizes that her children enjoy sleep-away camps mostly because they can eat whatever they want. But, regardless of the reason, Chloe cannot wait to go back.

“I went to Camp Fox because it is literally the best place ever, a home away from home. Camp Fox is definitely always the best part of my summer,” Gillen said.

Isabel Arroyo, a sophomore at Marlborough School, also prefers the sleep-away camp experience.

“For one, I enjoy the independent attitude/habits that such camps essentially force you to adopt,” Arroyo said. “I also enjoy being surrounded by friends 24/7 and staying up late into the night with my roommates chatting about camp drama — an experience that is much harder to have at a day camp.”

She attended the Pali Adventures sleep-away camp for two weeks last year where she specialized in the Flying Trapeze. She plans to return to the aerial apparatus for another two weeks this summer, followed by a three-week intensive Latin program in Rome.

Another sophomore at Marlborough School, Eleanor Hawley, decided to stay closer to home last summer and work as a counselor at the five-week summer camp offered by Marlborough School.

“I really wanted to work at Marlborough Summer School because I thought it would be fun to help out at the local neighborhood school and learn what a teacher does,” Hawley said.

She added: “It was a lot of fun, and I worked as a teacher’s assistant for robotics and computer science.”

Another local teen, Will McCrane, 17, volunteered at the Independent Shakespeare Company, the same company that puts on free performances of Shakespearean plays at Griffith Park.

He enjoyed his time there over the past several summers, working various jobs from the concession stand to plugging in cables.

“I didn’t do any acting,” McCrane said. “It was more just getting the feel of what it’s like to run a production like that.”

McCrane will be graduating from Oakwood this year and looks forward to traveling and possibly working this summer.

While the summer experiences of local kids and teens are varied, everyone agrees that they are looking forward to taking a break from the school year.

By Talia Abrahamson

Talia Abrahamson, Plymouth Blvd., is a sophomore at Marlborough School.

By Talia Abrahamson

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Category: People

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