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Jul 30, 2002

Campers learn drama in the jungle

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During a summer when it seems like camps for children are sprouting like weeds in an empty lot, it appears to be the most ambitious effort of the season. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports on what happened when the fine arts met the deep forest.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Just over seventy boys and girls attended the Belize Arts Council’s Arts and Environment summer camp. The camp was held at La Milpa in the Orange Walk District with the co-operation of Programme for Belize. For many of the children, it was their first experience in the great outdoors and it took a couple of days for some of them to adjust to their new surroundings.

Arielle McSweaney, 12 years old

“I like the place, I just noh like the mosquitoes and the late night walking. I fraid a jaguar jump out or something.”

Chantel Servano, 12 years old

“The girls they have their bathrooms. Dah noh really sewerage and dah noh flush, you have the sawdust and when you do your number two, you have a mug or something and you scoop up a little bit of sawdust and just pour it in there and you close it, and that stops the scent.”

Gregory Vernon, the camp’s co-ordinator, says he wanted the children to experience the natural environment because he believes it will help them in their overall development.

Gregory Vernon, Summer Camp Co-ordinator

“Getting them away from twenty-four hour electricity, getting them away from telephones, television, getting them to know the natural inhabitants, getting them to see natural animals, deer, fox, snakes, wildlife, wild turkey. And they were pretty much impressed, because for the first time children are not seeing animals in captivity, so it was very exciting.”

The children were at the camp to develop their artistic abilities. They had ten days to combine their individual talents to produce a musical stage play.

Gregory Vernon

“We know have talented children coming to the camp. All the instrumental music was very live, nothing was recorded. The dance choreography was done from scratch, the vocal was arranged from scratch, everything was. And of course you know the script which was Jonas Matapalo by David Luis, was written as a book and was transformed on to the stage.”

On July twenty-six, the children presented their production, Jonas Matapalo at the Crystal Palace in Orange Walk.

Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

Vernon says the children’s names will be placed in the Arts Council registry and they will be called to perform in a number of future presentations. The footage of activities at the camp, by the way, was provided by the Arts Council Video Unit.

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