Proctors camps teaching more than arts (with photo gallery)

children took part in various acting exercises as part of “Imagine That!” and “Improv Schimprov!”, t

Nearly 20 children sat in a circle in the Fenimore Asset Management Gallery of Proctors Tuesday morning. One by one, the instructor tapped their heads and asked, “Who are you?”

One by one, the kids answered. “I’m Lollipop.” “I’m Sofia Vergara.” “I’m Paula Deen.”

The children took part in various acting exercises as part of “Imagine That!” and “Improv Schimprov!”, two programs hosted by Proctors. In “Imagine That!”, children invent and expand on made-up characters during the course of the camp. Meanwhile, “Improv Schimprov!” concentrates more on quick thinking, said Education Program Manager Jessica Gelarden.

Both programs have different approaches, but reach for a common goal: to build confidence and teach in a fun environment.

“It’s like eating green beans without knowing it,” Gelarden said.

The programs are two of 10 that Proctors sponsors throughout the summer. The Summer Adventures track, which consists of five programs, is a more informal introduction to performing arts, said Grace Janiszewski, assistant education program manager at Proctors. The other set of five programs is labeled Summer Academy, which is more technique-based.

“Imagine That!” begins at 9 a.m. and goes until 12:30 p.m. The group breaks for lunch at Subway. Afterward, some children go home, but many stay for “Improv Schimprov!,” which lasts until 4:30 p.m.

The two programs together allow kids to be productive while their parents are working during the day.

“We’re like a built-in baby sitter,” Janiszewski said.

The beginning of the camp is often the hardest for the children, ages 9-13, Janiszewski said. They have to get up in front of kids they don’t know and improvise. But they get used to it, she said.

“Anything goes,” she said. “If you want to live in the water, no one can say no.”

The two weeks culminate in a performance for family and friends.

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