Parents in Action: Benefits of choosing performing arts camps

TAMPA BAY - Is your child doodling on every piece of paper they can get their hands on? Do they dance uncontrollably when their favorite song comes on? Are they saying lines along with their favorite movie?

Well if you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may have an underlying talent in the arts that is waiting to be brought to light. And as summer approaches it's a perfect time to nurture those talents at performing arts summer programs and camps.

If you and your child decide that a performing arts summer camp is right for them, they'll not only spend their vacation learning about something they love, they'll also gain numerous benefits from the programs that will go well beyond summer break.

Academic Benefits

There are countless benefits to arts education and exposure but one of the largest is academic benefits. A 2006 study commissioned by the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies found that the reading of dramatic plays helps children comprehend and improves reading skills among all age groups but especially for first graders who are reading below their grade level.

Similarly, students who are exposed and participate in arts programming show greater proficiency in language and math, achieving overall higher scores on the verbal and math portions of the S.A.T.

The reason for these increases is that certain forms of arts instruction enhance basic reading skills, language development and writing skills. For example, numerous data shows "the use of dramatic enactment can make a measurable difference in helping student" achieve goals such as story understanding, reading comprehension and writing skills.

This study conducted by tracks the numerous results of arts education and the benefits they have on children and teens.

Community and Civic Engagement                                                                                                                              

The advantages, although great in the academic spectrum, go far beyond school and academic achievement. In a study conducted at the University of California Los Angeles, young adults who had experienced intensive arts in high school were found to have more civic engagement through community volunteering, voting and involvement in school and local politics. Additionally, these increases were seen across all levels of socioeconomic homes, high and low. Some research also shows that arts can have an impact on how tweens and teen communicate with their parents and other adults.  And at its core, communication and civic engagement will better help prepare kids for college, the work force and the future.

The full data on the correlation between community and civic engagement and arts training can be found on the National Endowment for the Arts website.

Mental and Physical Impact

Kids who participate in the arts for an extended period of time will also experience a number of mental health and physical benefits. With 18 percent of adolescents being obese, according to the CDC, performing arts activities like dance are a fantastic way for them to experience continuous physical exercise. Doing heavy physical activity, like dance, will not only increase the amount of time your kids are exercising but will also help to decrease levels any depression and anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic's website.  

Additionally, doing physical activity, like performing arts training in dance, music or acting is a great confidence booster for your kids. They'll learn about communicating in public, working with new friends and expressing their emotions openly through dialog, which will inevitably help them communicate better at home.

When sending your kids to a performing arts camp keep in mind that just because your child is interested in dancing doesn't mean that they'll grow up to become a famous choreographer. But nurturing those talents will certainly help them no matter what; in school, in life and in health. Take the first step when you see your child's talents show through, your kids will thank you later on.


The Enchanted Kingdom of the Arts at Carrollwood Cultural Center

 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa ● 813-269-1310
Once upon a time in a far off kingdom princes and princesses ruled. Their kingdom was no ordinary kingdom for it was enchanted with beautiful artwork, music, dancing and voices joined together in perfect harmony. The princes and princesses decided to call their land The Enchanted Kingdom of the Arts.

Mary Jo's Sizzlin' Summer Camps
15906 Mapledale Blvd., Tampa ● 813-969-0240
Experience a summer of dance (ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, acrobatics), acting, musical theater, voice and music for ages 3 and older. The weekly themes include Princess and Pirates, Beach Bash, Dancing Divas & Dudes, Tampa's Got Talent, Movie Moves and In the Jungle! Register online.

Sessions are June 18-29 and July 9 through Aug. 3.

Music Showcase and The Florida Academy of Performing Arts
402 Oakfield Drive, Brandon ● 813-490-2787
Ages 5 and older can learn to sing, act or play an instrument! Camps include Musical Theater, where students sing and act on stage, make costumes and sets and perform before a live audience. Also join the GLEE show choir, acting classes, commercial, TV, film, group guitar, group violin, toddler and voice over classes as well as Rock Band. Half- and full-day camps available.

Patel Conservatory
1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa ● 813-222-1002
Offering more than 70 camps and classes in all areas of dance, theater and music for all ages and experience levels, weekly classes for ages 3 through college are held Monday through Friday on afternoons, evenings and weekends. Save 10% on select camps and classes when you register on or before April 6. Restrictions apply.

Contempo School of Dance
24148 S.R. 54, Lutz ● 813-948-3262
Dance (ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, modern, acrobatics), act (musical theater), and sing this summer or participate in Princess, Girls Rock, the Nutcracker and other summer camps. Accepting students from age 2. Register at the studio from 4-8 p.m. Monday-Friday or 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Dunedin Fine Art Center
1143 Michigan Blvd. ● 727-298-3322
These art camps offer fun, creative, cognitive experiences for ages 4½ to 14. Activities include drawing, painting, drama and dance. Attend the open house from 6 p.m. -8 p.m. April 27 to learn more.

Ruth Eckerd Hall – Summer Arts 2013 at Hoffman Institute
1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater ● 727-712-2706
Give your child a summer in the spotlight at Ruth Eckerd Hall's Hoffman Institute. Performing arts classes and camps are available for ages 3 to 18. Parents will save money with special discounts, save time with our convenient lunch program and save on stress knowing that their child is in a safe, cool and creative environment. Tuition assistance is available. Deal:1. All themed dramatics classes during our first week June 11-15, are 25% off ($165 versus $220). Enroll in three or more one-week classes  and receive 10% off each class!

Camp Ramblin Rock
3002 Starkey Blvd., Trinity ● 727-375-0123
An extension of Ramblin Rhodes Music, a music school that teaches most instruments and vocals, the camps are modeled on the recording studio experience, where the students work, learn and play in intensive four-hour daily sessions.  They learn instrumental parts, vocal scores, stage presence and performance techniques.

Largo Cultural Center
105 Central Park Drive, Largo ● 727-587-6751
Two new three-week theater day camps, Aladdin Jr. and Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr., will help campers develop audition skills, solo and ensemble voice, choreography, prop and scenic design. It will all culminate in a final performance to showcase the campers' skills and talent. Camps start on June 10 and July 22. Also this year, the Technical Theater Production Camp will teach scenery, rigging, audio, video and lighting skills and students will apply what is learned to a final sound and lighting extravaganza. Camp starts July 22. Scholarships and before and after care available.

American Stage
163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg ● 727-823-1600, Ext. 201
Discover the difference that theater can make in your child's life!  The camp provides enriching experiences in a positive and inspiring environment that enhance a child's communication skills, confidence and creative expression.  All experience levels are welcome. The staff is comprised of working theater professionals.  

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