ECCSS offering 'adventures in learning' at new summer camp program

As part of its new summer camp program, the Elk County Catholic School System is offering a plethora of camps ranging from sports, arts, language arts, instrumental music, liturgical and choral choirs to drama, science and geography.The 18 different camps are open to all area students, including those visiting St. Marys for the summer. Camps are spread throughout the summer to allow interested students the opportunity to participate in multiple camps. "Learning is lifelong, it just isn't from September till June, and this is an opportunity to let kids learn and also to delve into areas they may have not experienced before, whether it's science, art or music," said Fr. Michael Ferrick, ECCSS president. Each camp takes place for one week from 1-2 hours per day, except for the drama camp, in which students host a performance at the conclusion of the camp. Costs range from $20-$75 per camp, with registration brochures available at local Catholic schools and area parishes as well as on the school system website, Camps will be held at the Catholic elementary, middle and high school buildings."The purpose of the camps is to show what we have to offer at the Elk County Catholic School System. They are open to everyone," Ferrick said. "It's an opportunity for us to share the many gifts and talents we have. It's just a way of us giving back to the community."According to Ferrick, school system faculty were informed about starting a summer camp program and were asked for input on potential ideas. "It was an option. They came forward. That was the nice thing, is that we didn't have to go after them. They came to us. We're very blessed with talented instructors and teachers," Ferrick said. "Just by looking at the faculty that we have, that we want to get that out there and what we offer in terms of music and arts. We are very proud in this day and age when funds are being cut that we're still able to offer the arts."Mary Meyer, ECCSS director of advancement, said the camps are being offered "just to get students to love learning and to be excited about exploring new avenues and new channels, thinking about what talents they have. I think the relaxed atmosphere of the summer camp maybe gets them to try new things and opens them to new worlds, new ideas, new thoughts. To me that's the beauty of these types of programs."Meyer added the summer camps fit perfectly into the school system's missions statement, "to nurture the God-given talents of each student.""The summer recreation program [at area parks] is so well-established [in St. Marys]. Our purpose is not to compete with established programs out there, but to give a variety of other things that aren't offered that kids would be interested in," Ferrick said.The following camps are being offered: Boys' basketball fundamental skills camp under the direction of Aaron Straub, June 4-8 at the ECCHS gym. This camp is open to all students entering grades 1-9. The time of the camp varies per grade level, with grades 1-3 participating from 9-10 a.m., grades 4-6 from 10:15 a.m.- noon and grades 7-9 from 12:30-2:45 p.m. This is the 31st year for the camp, which is instructed by ECCHS boys' basketball coaching staff and players. Each student will receive an official Crusader Basketball T-shirt."It is open to all boys, regardless of school, and each year we have many younger players from out of town and throughout the area. The camp also provides an opportunity to the JV and varsity players in our system to give back and assist the younger players in our area," Straub said. "It has been a very successful program."Junior high girls' volleyball skill camp under the direction of Diane Gies, June 25-27 from 12-2 p.m. for girls entering grades 6-8 at the ECCHS gym. The deadline to register for this camp is June 1. Jim Lodes, a St. Marys native and coach of the Rochester Institute of Technology women's volleyball team, will act as the camp instructor. Musicianship through Improvisation will take place from June 4-8 from 9-11 a.m. at the ECCHS auditorium. Under the direction of Ray Knight and Richard Swackhammer, ECC band directors, the camp is open to a maximum of 16 students in grades 9-12. Students will learn to develop meaningful improvisation, listen to other improvisers, and personalize melodies with expressive phrasing, dynamics, and tonal and rhythmic variation as they take musical risks and try new ideas. Basic vocal skills will be held from June 18-22 for students in grades 1-8 at the St. Marys Catholic Elementary School music room. Times vary according to age group, with grades 1-4 participating from 9-11 a.m. and grades 5-8 from 10-11 a.m. There is a maximum of 20 students per age group. The camp is under the direction of Jane Kronenwetter, SMCES music teacher, and Steve Toney. Students will learn solfeggio, intervals, matching pitches, breathing and vocal exercises. Musical selections will include patriotic, folk songs and some sacred music. At the end of the week, groups will perform selections from each style of music they studied. "We look forward to working with students on basic vocal techniques. Who knows-- we may have the next 'American Idol' in our midst!" Kronenwetter said.High school liturgical choir camp will take place from June 18-22 inside the ECCHS chapel from 9-11 a.m. and is open to students in grades 9-12. Under the direction of Rita Ordiway and Father Ross Miceli, the camp is geared toward students interested in being a part of the 2012-2013 ECCHS Liturgical Choir. Students will review the current music used at high school Masses and review, select and practice new music for Masses. The directors will introduce students to harmonies and encourage the use of other instruments.ECCHS Spanish teacher Nancy Evans will host an introduction to spoken Spanish from June 18-22 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at ECCHS, outside if weather-permitting. This camp is limited to a maximum of 20 students."Early exposure to a foreign language is the best way to prepare a child for success in language study later in life," Evans said. "I hope to see many students take advantage of this opportunity for early exposure to another language."Evans is also hosting an introduction to Spanish through spoken stories during the same dates from 1:45-3:45 p.m. Students will be introduced to spoken Spanish through listening to Spanish stories and answering easy yes-or-no questions about the stories. By Friday, students will join others in a small group to write a Spanish story.A "junior" musical production will be part of the drama camp taking place June 25-29, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday. The camp, being held in the ECCHS auditorium, is open to students in grades 5-9. It is under the direction of Chelsea Bloam, assisted by Ted Hanes and current high school drama students. Students will plan, produce and perform a "junior" version of a musical production. Students should bring a packed lunch. Pick up a copy of the Monday, May 21, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.