Camp concludes with patriotic program

Published 4:23 pm Friday, August 9, 2013

It wasn’t Butler County’s youth, but America that took center stage at the Dunbar Summer Day Camp’s culminating ceremony on Aug. 1.

Appropriately, the red, white and blue-themed finale was an amalgamation of the various lessons learned throughout the previous weeks, and the day campers put that knowledge to the test with a variety of trivia on history’s most prominent Americans.

And camp director Deirdre Womack said that ultimately, the experience for campers should be one filled with learning.

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“The reason we chose the red, white and blue theme was because it was an election year last year, and our country and our government are very important,” Womack said.

“And we just wanted to instill that in our children.”

A handful of campers served as the masters of ceremony throughout the entire program in addition to portraying several American heroes in a series of creative skits.

Very few important figures were exempt from the parodies, including Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and more.

The campers even devised an elaborate recreation of the infamous John F. Kennedy ride through Dealey Plaza, complete with presidential limousine.

It was Womack’s theater background that inspired her decision to utilize skits throughout the ceremony.

A small script blossomed into a full-on game show, trivia questions, live music and much more through the aid of others.

But despite the evolution that the show would take, she wanted control of the ceremony to remain firmly in the hands of the campers themselves.

“I just want them to be empowered, and for them to know that they can do things as well,” Womack said. “I wanted them to know that just because you’re younger than other people, you’re just as capable of doing it as well.”

The final act of the evening, a performance of the song “America” conducted by Womack herself, served as one of the evening’s most memorable moments.

The campers performed the song with the aid of a CD and choir last year, which prompted Womack to find live instrumentation for this year’s performance.

Though she only set out to find one musician to play keyboard, her search ended with a full band — two bass guitarists, two keyboarders, a saxophonist and a drummer.

Perhaps more than any other factor, the performance of  “America” was the essence of the Dunbar Day Camp Experience.

“Those children put their hearts into that performance, and they were just so proud of themselves,” Womack said. “And when they’re happy and they feel good about themselves, then I think our job is done.”