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THE SUMMERTIME DO'S : Day Camps and Workshops Promise All Kinds of Fun (and Psssst, Many Are Educational!), so Sign Up Soon

May 19, 1994|CORINNE FLOCKEN | Corinne Flocken is a free-lance writer who regularly covers Kid Stuff for the Times Orange County Edition.

Spring may have its bluebirds and pollen, but for my money, there is no surer sign of encroaching summer than a child's backpack.

Fresh and functional in September, it is a sorry specimen by May: The zipper is missing teeth, and the bottom has worn thin from being dragged (or kicked, depending on the bearer's mood) across the school parking lot.

Your child's interest in school may be wearing thin by now too, but as any savvy parent knows, there's nothing like a good bribe to lure your reluctant scholar through the final weeks of the term. And, be it a night under the stars or a chance to strut and fret upon the stage, a summer camp or workshop can be a fine lure.

There are several criteria to keep in mind when choosing a program for your child, says Shirley Walch, executive director of the American Camping Assn., Southern California section. These include the adult-to-child ratio, the age and experience of the counselors or program leaders and the program's suitability to your child's personality or needs. ACA's office in Calabasas can provide a complete check list, as well as a guide to ACA accredited day camps and resident (sleep-over) camps in Southern California and Hawaii. You can reach them at (818) 223-9232.

Day camps and workshop series abound for kids in our area; the following list is a small sampling. Bear in mind that almost every program requires advance registration, and most fill up quickly.


From July 5 through 29, the Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre will present a series of musical theater workshops for budding actors age 10 to 17. According to director Joe Lauderdale, the sessions will be led by local theater professionals and will cover such areas as singing, dancing, acting and vocal projection. Classes will be divided by age group and will meet weekday mornings. At the end of the session, students will perform a musical revue.

Fee: The workshop price has not been set, but Lauderdale expects it will be around $250 to $300 per student.

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. (714) 494-0744, Ext. 207. *

South Coast Repertory bills its Summer Theatre Workshop as "the perfect introduction to theater" for children. An offshoot of SCR's venerable Youth Conservatory program, the workshop is an overview of the performing arts led by theater professionals, covering topics ranging from acting to set design and construction. Hands-on experience is emphasized. Like the Laguna Playhouse, SCR wraps up its workshop with an original performance.

Designed for students age 8 to 14, the workshop runs Aug. 1 through 13 at SCR. Fee: $185.

South Coast Repertory, 695 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 957-2602, Ext. 210. *

Although Broadway on Tour children's theater expects a change of address by the fall (it will lose its home at The City shopping center by summer's end, sources say), the group hopes to present a two-week summer theater program in early August. Check with the company later in the summer for details.

Broadway on Tour, 20 City Blvd. East, Orange. (714) 385-1555.


The Laguna Art Museum presents two programs for children and families this summer, both at locations outside the gallery.

First up: "Green Kids: Summer Eco-Art Adventures," a day-camp series that uses LAM's "Fragile Ecologies" exhibit as its basis. Children age 5 to 12 explore their environment through hands-on art projects and fantasy play every Friday from July 8 through Aug. 12 at the Art Institute of Southern California in Laguna Beach. LAM field trips are included. Fee: $75.

On Aug. 20, LAM hosts the Joseph Cornell Nature Awareness Family Workshop at Laguna Laurel Wilderness Park for children age 6 and up and their families (adult participation is required). Fee: $15 per person.

Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. (714) 494-8971. *

Art classes for children age 2 1/2 through 13 continue through the summer at the Newport Harbor Art Museum. Topics include Mexican folk art, architecture, watercolor and an international "tour" that acquaints children with a variety of cultures and periods in history through hands-on art projects. Most classes meet twice weekly for two weeks in the museum. Fee: $35 to $40.

Newport Harbor Art Museum, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach. (714) 759-1122. *

"Plein air" art takes on a new meaning at the Irvine Fine Arts Center summer camp. When participants aren't inside the studio working with clay, paints or other media, they can be found in adjacent Heritage Park, taking part in aquatic or other outdoor activities. Field trips to local museums are also planned.

The two-week sessions are open to children age 6 to 10. Program begins June 27 and continues weekdays through Sept. 2. Fees: $120 to $240; extended day care is available.

IFAC will also continue its weekly children's art classes throughout the summer. Fee: $35 to $65 per session.

Irvine Fine Arts Center, 14321 Yale Ave., Irvine. (714) 552-1018. *

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