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Creative Kids Camp produces art, smiles
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The Creative Kids Camp, put on by the Arts Association in Newton County, wrapped up its weeklong array of activities Friday with students performing skits and playing instruments at Allen Memorial Methodist Church in Oxford.

In its 10th year, the camp began Monday. Rising first through sixth grade students participated in arts and crafts, music, dance and theater throughout the week.

The camp targets every type of student. According to Arts Association Executive Director Buncie Lanners, approximately 150 children and 46 counselors attended this year's camp. Of those, approximately 30 percent were on scholarship.

"We have a lot of kids here who are from every kind of household," Lanners said. "We have a good mix and we have a lot on full scholarship. That's great for children whose parents may not have been able to afford the camp."

 Each elementary school in Newton County sends one student as teachers identify students who would fit the program. Once at the camp, instructors and counselors quickly divide students into various activities.

 The diversification is what makes the camp so successful, Lanners said-- what one student may not care about, another may cherish.

 "The kids all have individual areas they enjoy," she said. "One might like singing while one might like the guitar, so they all get to do something they like. There's something for everyone."

 Throughout the week, campers experienced professional performances from local artists. Jeff Johnson sang and played the guitar on Monday while the Capital City Opera Company performed a Dr. Suess-themed opera on Thursday.

"The intent is the students see a professional performance each day during the week and they in turn get to do it themselves at the end of the week," Lanners said.

Friday's performances showcased everything the campers learned during the week. First through third graders sang various songs and played Orf instruments including xylophones and chimes.

The second group, comprised of fourth through sixth graders, played songs with the guitar, sang chorus songs and acted out skits.

The highlight of the show came at the end when the chorus sang the Bangles pop hit "Walk Like an Egyptian".

Lanners said the counselors played a vital role again this year. Every year former campers come back and assume a mentoring role.

"We really couldn't do this without our teachers and counselors," Lanners added. "We are fortunate we get certified teachers from various schools that teach art, drama and music and the counselors love to come back and help the kids."

 After the shows, campers showed their artwork to their parents and bid new friends farewell. In the end, students left with their artwork in hand and smiles on their faces.

 "The whole experience is what these kids enjoy the most," Lanners said. "They get to come to a college campus and eat in the dining hall. I think all of them enjoy being involved with each other."