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Safe Summer Fun: Camps continue through COVID-19

RESERVE — Little voices chirped, “faster, faster!” on the opening day of the Parks and Recreation Dance Camp. Monday’s session was dedicated to learning dance technique, and some of the little girls were eager to take it up a notch and show their skills.

Summer camps are settling into a new normal in St. John the Baptist Parish. Both Dance Camp and Cheer Camp, which took place in two weeklong sessions earlier this month, are incorporating temperature checks, face coverings and social distancing.

The shining stars on the REGALA Gym floor stand six feet apart, but they are united in spirit.

Southern University dancer Ayana Henry is volunteering at the Dance Camp along with her cousin and a recent graduate of the East St. John Sugarettes dance team. Henry said the first two days of the Camp will focus on the foundations. Beginning on Wednesday, dancers will learn choreography to show their families in a grand finale performance on Friday.

Dancers stand in a starting position, ready to learn their next move.

Choreography learned from Dance Camp will help children gain the foundation they need for high school and collegiate dance teams.

More than 20 girls signed up for the exciting week of dance.

“It’s important that they get this experience,” Henry said. “I know they’ve been tired of being cooped up in the house without summer camps. They were happy to get out.”

Recreation is a primary focus for many parish leaders under the new administration. Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said it is well worth it to provide unique opportunities for local youth while also taking into account safety precautions outlined by health officials.

“My Administration is committed to providing positive and safe opportunities for our children so that they can stay engaged and active while also learning and experiencing new things,” Hotard said. “We look forward to implementing additional recreational events in the future.”

Coach Shannon Tregre of the Riverside Academy varsity cheerleading team oversaw the recent Cheer Camp with help from student volunteers. Campers were split into two groups to allow for greater social distancing.

After a performance in front of family on the last day of camp, awards were presented to the children with the best cheers, chants, dances and jumps. A giant banana was awarded to the most spirited cheerleader.

Tregre said the camp was a positive experience and that the girls had a lot of fun, despite social distancing restrictions.

Dance and Cheer camps are among a long list of summer activities available to St. John the Baptist Parish residents.

Young cheerleaders pose with their ribbons on the last day of Cheer Camp.

Cheer Camp was divided into two groups. Members of the Riverside Academy cheer team, pictured in red, assisted with teaching the girls cheers and chants.

Lainey was awarded a banana for being the most spirited member of last week’s Cheer Camp.

To register for any of the following camps, visit the Parks & Recreation Page at sjbparish.com and click on “Program Registration.” For more information, please call the Parks & Recreation Department at 985-652-9569.

  • Drumline Camp will take place from 10 a.m. to noon July 27-31. It will be hosted by Calvin Berry of the Master’s Touch Drumline at REGALA Gym, located at 194 REGALA Park Road in Reserve. This camp is open to children ages 7 to 12. Face coverings and drinks will be provided with the $20 registration fee. Temperature screenings are in place.
  • Free line dancing classes began earlier this month. Classes are held from 6 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at REGALA Gymnasium in Reserve. Temperature screenings are in place, and face coverings are required. Dancers will be spaced six feet apart.
  • The first Water Aerobics class will be held on Monday, Aug. 3. Classes will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the REGALA Pool, located at 194 REGALA Park Road in Reserve. These classes are free and open to participants ages 18 and older.
  • The Trinity Youth Agility Camp is in its final week. Camp is held from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m. today, July 22, and Friday, July 24 at REGALA Park in Reserve. Camp will also be held from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday, July 25 at REGALA Park. For more information, email trinityesdi@gmail.com or call 985-277-9871.
  • Art teacher Karin Douroux is hosting a Summer Art workshop for children ages 8 to 12. Children will learn how to draw a turtle from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 25. The workshop will be held again from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 1, and children will learn to draw a cheerleader or a football player. To register, visit the Parks and Recreation page at sjbparish.com and click on “Program Registration.” Face coverings will be provided.