From martial arts to monkey hats

-A A +A

Annual LCCA summer camps combine arts, creative thinking and imagination with fitness

By Denyse Clark

 Karate, fashion design, movie making and a whole lot more is going on this month at the Summer Fun Arts & Sciences Camps sponsored by the Lancaster County Council of the Arts (LCCA).  


In the next three weeks, elementary school students, ages 4 to 12, can attend these camps countywide.

At the Lancaster camp at Covenant Baptist Church on Wednesday, July 9, Aaron Mabry, 8, was enjoying the fun with other young campers in a karate class led by sensei Connie Funderburk.

“We learn karate moves and play a few games like ‘Ninja Ninja Batman,’” Aaron said. “We exercise to help our legs.” 

As the campers did their martial arts moves and responded to their instructors, they yelled, “Kia!”

“Kia means power,” Aaron said sharing what he’s learned in just two days. “Karate comes out from Japan. I learn something new everyday.”

Funderburk said the campers indeed learn something new each day and so does she.

“What we’re doing is martial arts as art,” she said. “They learn about different martial arts. They learn about karate, its history and its practices and they learn about yoga and boxing.”

Funderburk said campers also learned a choreographed piece called a Kata which they’ll perform in front of parents at the Friday evening showcase. 

“The best part of this camp is being able to meet all types of children and introduce them to what I love,” Funderburk said. “This type of art has become my life story.”

LCCA Executive Director Debbie Jaillette said the summer camps are also an opportunity to give temporary summer jobs to teachers and other professionals.

“That’s part of our mission to advocate,” Jaillette said. “Our primary focus is arts, creative thinking and imagination and our secondary focus is health and wellness.”

Queserie Peay, camp projects and program coordinator, keeps track of campers’ schedules, their snack times and checks in on their classes. 

Hannah Stalls, directs and oversees the children's 15 minutes of daily physical activity and 15 minutes of healthy eating. Hannah, a Girl Scout, is volunteering at the camp to fulfill the community service component on her Silver award.

Peay’s 14-year-old daughter, Dionyah Thompson, a rising 10th grade arts-focused student at Andrew Jackson High School, has switched roles.

“When I went to camp here, I enjoyed it and when I started getting older I wanted to volunteer and help with the younger kids,” Thompson said. “I hope they’ve enjoyed themselves. I try to make it fun.”

Jailette said  67 campers were enrolled at Covenant Baptist Church who pick two of 14 activities offered in arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

“We have a very diverse camp and we’re proud of that,” she said. “It’s a wonderfully diverse group which fits perfectly with our slogan, ‘Arts for All.’”

Maria Gemez, 6, expressed the great things about this camp.

“I learn to make art good,” she said. “I made a monkey hat.” 

Upcoming camps

The Lancaster Camp at Covenant Baptist Church ends today, July 11, but there are three more to choose from:

• The Buford area camp is July 14-18 at Tabernacle United Methodist Church, 5908 Tabernacle Road.

• The Kershaw area camp is July 21-25 at First Baptist Church, 210 N. Matson St., Kershaw. 

• The Indian Land Camp is July 28-Aug. 1 at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church, 238 Fort Mill Highway (S.C. 160), Indian Land. 

Early registration is $65 for LCCA members and $80 for non members. There is a $25 late registration fee. Each camp is 9 a.m. to 12 noon daily and registration includes snacks, a T-shirt and supplies.

For more information, contact the Lancaster County Council of the Arts at (803) 285-7451 or visit www.lccarts.net.

At the Lancaster camp, Abby Conwell, 8, put the week’s activities into perspective.

“I’ve been doing karate and becoming a fashion designer. So far, we’ve made pajama pants,” she said with much enthusiasm. “It’s amazing. It’s really fun.”


Contact reporter Denyse Clark at (803) 283-1152