For more than 60 years, the staff at YMCA Camp Roger has been developing programs that get kids and teens off the couch and in the great outdoors. In doing so, its aim is to help the kids develop social skills that can foster confidence, independence, and leadership. In addition to traditional sleepover camps—where 6–10 kids stay in cabins at night and practice mountain biking, archery, hiking, and arts and crafts during the day—the camp offers focused programs such as creative arts or horseback riding. And if the clan needs a break from the housecat’s despotic demands, it can attend a family camp over Labor Day weekend.
Darlene Casanova, owner of Imagination Place, believes that music holds the power to strengthen familial and community-based relationships. Drawing from her extensive training and careers in the performing arts, she now strives to nurture family bonds and child development via music and movement classes. Along with a team of certified teachers and music instructors, she leads a harmonious selection of internationally recognized programs open to adults, children, and operatic family dogs. In Music Together, an early-childhood series in which caregivers join their tots in song and movement, children choose from a basket brimming with instruments and Baroque-style wigs to identify their individual musical styles. Teachers spark early creativity with yoga, art, and theater in the Imagination Workshop, and motivate youngsters to explore music theory in Musical Bridge.
When she?s not crooning with kiddies, Darlene teaches AntiGravity fitness. Suspended from an AntiGravity hammock?a soft, pliable fabric used to enhance stretches?she guides pupils through an aerial series of movements that meld techniques from dance, Pilates, calisthenics, and classic yoga.
In addition to her wide range of family classes, Imagination Place hosts music- and art-filled birthday extravaganzas. During the warmer months, an assortment of summer-camp programs fills the studio with creative children eager to escape the stresses of babysitting their parents.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces?including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis?await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece 7-10 days later.