News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Belmont: Make A Break For It
BY COLLETTE CAPRARA
FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR
For the first time, the folks at Belmont will host a daylong Spring Break Art Camp for kids that will be daylong.
“We continually explore new ways to expand our programs and, as a working mother of two, I thought this would be a great way for kids to do something constructive and enjoy nature during the spring break,” said education manager Michelle Crow–Dolby.
The camp will be chock-full of creative crafts, team-building games and opportunities to explore Gari Melchers’ Home and Studio and the estate’s 27 acres of gardens and trails.
What’s more, the activities will be coordinated by Belmont’s own camp leader extraordinaire, Cathy Stikes. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in art, a master’s degree in art education and a spectrum of camp experiences, including eight years leading the Boy Scouts’ leadership–high adventure program.
“Obviously, I love camp!” said Stikes. “Camps serve as great social centers and offer activities that are both educational and fun without feeling like the school setting in which kids spend most of their year. I like activities that are both indoor and outdoor—partially because I’m a nature buff, but also largely because there are kids who don’t always have an opportunity for those activities, and this is a treat for them.”
In addition to longstanding favorites of hula hoops, Frisbee and bocce, a variety of fun-filled group games will sharpen communication skills and prove that kids don’t need high-tech gadgets or even sports equipment to have a good time.
Team games will include silent football (in which each player will have a signature hand gesture), Sardines (a reverse version of hide-and-seek) and Monster (where players join forces to match the unique characteristics of an imaginary convoluted creature).
Camp activities will also include take-home crafts that will follow a different theme each day.
- “In the Garden” will include making bug-catchers, plant markers and mosaic wooden tiles.
- “In the Sky” will feature windsocks and wind chimes.
- “On the Sidewalk” will include creating homemade sidewalk chalk, a peanut butter–pine cone bird feeder and moon sand.
- “Color” will feature tie-dyed creations, yarn-and-popsicle-stick God’s Eyes and friendship bracelets.
The week’s activities will conclude with Frisbee decorating and a lunch of home-made ice cream and pizza.
Stikes explains that the camp for kids carries on a tradition that goes back to the early 1930s, when Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne, lived on the estate.
“The Melcherses were very invested in art and also in the children of the community,” she said. “They provided all sorts of events and activities for local children, and we are trying to carry on that outreach. We have wonderful facilities and grounds for that: Belmont is such a beautiful place.”
Added Crow–Dolby, “When I hear the children laughing and having such a good time outside, I just smile and think, ‘Corinne would be very happy with this!’”
What: Spring Break Art Camp
Where: Gari Melchers’ Home and Studio at Belmont, 224 Washington St., Falmouth
When: April 9–13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Participants should bring snacks and lunch.)
Who: Kids ages 6–12
Cost: $90 members, $110 nonmembers. Preregistration is required.
Info/registration: 540/654-1851; garimelchers.umw.edu
Collette Caprara is a local artist and writer.