The school year may be over, but the Palmyra Community Center Program Board has several programs available throughout July to keep kids active and engaging with their peers in a safe and educational setting. Wherever a child’s interests may lie, be it art, building Lego, instrumental music or theater, parents can be sure their local community center has something for them.
The Program Board offers two popular theater programs, Spotlighters Stage Skills and Summer Stage Club. The Spotlighters group is geared toward younger children ages 6 to 12, and Stage Club caters to an older set, ages 12 to 18.
Both groups meet on Wednesdays at the community center, Spotlighters from 7 to 8:15 p.m. and Stage Club from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Spotlighters aims at introducing young children to theater by way of games, vocal exercises and confidence-building activities. Brother and sister team Eric and Kaya Robinson bring their own stage experience to the table as instructors. The two took over running the program three years ago.
“It’s an introduction to theater and getting young people excited and ready for high school and what to expect,” said Eric.
“They all have fun because they have friends in this, but they also get a little bit of exposure to what it’s like to be up on stage. For a lot of them, it’s their first time behind a microphone,” said Kaya.
In addition to learning stage skills, the instructors see the program as a great way for kids to develop real-world, transferable skills.
“It also works for memory, this is one of the first times some of them are memorizing things out of school. This is memorizing for fun, it’s kind of like a brain exercise,” said Eric.
“Definitely the teamwork. We have a group of all different ages and different things going on and they realize everybody has to cooperate if we want to have any sort of end result,” said Kaya.
According to Eric, given the range in ages, children tend to step into roles that help serve the group as a whole. They often see leadership skills develop in the older children who step up to help organize their younger counterparts.
If theater isn’t your child’s cup of tea, the Program Board has offerings covering a wide variety of interests. Class fees vary and space can be limited so be sure to sign up as soon as possible to guarantee a spot.
Youth Acoustic Guitar meets Mondays from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and offers future guitarists ages 8 to 18 an introductory course on basic guitar skills like hand position and strumming technique.
FM Art Lab meets Thursdays from 7 to 8:15 p.m. and caters to children ages 6 to 16. Local teachers and instructors offer a new art project each week. Parents can sign up for the entire run of the program or individual classes.
PJ Lego Build meets Tuesdays from 7 to 7:45 p.m. for children ages 5 to 12. Participants are invited to come to class in their pajamas and are given a new Lego build challenge each week.
On July 31, the Program Board hosts a showcase featuring theater and music performances and various works on display from each of the youth programs. Parents can come to the community center and see what their children have been working on.
This year’s theme is A Walk on the Wild Side, featuring performances by the theater groups of selections from works like “Tarzan” and “The Lion King.”
“It should be a lot of fun, it’s the perfect summer thing,” said Kaya.
To sign their child up for any of the summer programs or to find out more about what they offer, parents can visit palmyracommunitycenter.com.