MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Summer camps are preparing to welcome kids back this summer after pandemic shutdowns impacted many in 2020.
The time is now for parents to start thinking about summer camp opportunities with spaces already filling up.
Hattiloo Theatre in Overton Crossing is offering a new Self-Identity Camp for Black youth.
Ekundayo Bandele, Hattiloo Theatre CEO & Founder developed the concept following a year of social injustice protests and the added impact of the pandemic.
“How can Black children identify themselves within this chaos?" Bandele said. "How can they say I am still beautiful even though all of this stuff coming at me is telling me that I’m not valuable?”
He said too often Black youth grow up simply "learning to cope". The goal of the camp is to equip Black youth ages 10 to 13 with the skills to help them thrive, instill self-love and promote inner peace using the self-expression tools of the theatre: acting, dance and fashion.
"How can we use the tools of theatre to empower children at that critical age, 10 to 13, how can we teach them those tools on how to hold on to their beauty during all of this social injustice?" Bandele said.
Spaces are extremely limited but free. Selected girls will attend June 21-25. Boys will attend June 28-July 2.
The YMCA will also bring back summer camps. Early registration is encouraged with many locations already on a waitlist.
The non-profit, Arrow Creative is taking over the Memphis College of Art's summer camp. Numerous camps will be open for kids throughout the summer.
Shelby Farms Park will also host its summer camp for kids ages 6 to 10. Camp is Monday through Friday for one week. Shelby Farms Park will hold five weeks total of camp.