Many of the children are able to attend the camp for free.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Children from three counties will explore arts from various regions of the United States at a day camp starting today at the Butler Institute of American Art.
Now in its 18th year, the Summer Arts Day Camp will bring together 68 children ages 8 to 12 for eight days. More than half of the children attending the camp have special needs or are from low-income families.
Those children attend the camp free; others pay a $100 fee. The camp runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for two weeks.
This year's theme is "American Sampler." Campers will learn about regional differences in dance, art, drama and music across the United States, said Mary Ellen Hoffman of Boardman, the camp's director.
Hoffman got involved with the day camp three years ago through her work as a docent at the Butler.
"I love it," she said. "It's a lot of work but all that work is done by the time camp starts. Once we start, it runs itself."
Planning started in January for this year's camp. Every activity is tied to the "American Sampler" theme, down to the lunches. This summer, campers will enjoy a Texas-style lunch, a New York deli-style meal and Southern California cuisine. On Family Night, set for July 27, campers will return in the evening with their families for a New Orleans night: they'll enjoy a Louisiana-style meal and make their own Mardi Gras mask.
Other activities include a field trip to the HENN basket factory in Lordstown, a concert by folk singers "Brady's Leap" and storytelling by Pat Fagan from Trumbull Children's Theater at Kent State University.
Kent State's children's acting troupe will perform as well, Hoffman said.
A number of local teachers lead classes for the camp. Volunteer counselors are National Honor Society members from Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.
"We have so many volunteers who love it so much that they wind up coming back year after year," Hoffman said.
Program sponsors include the Abe and Leona M. Adler Charitable Trust, First Place Bank Community Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Youngstown, The Hine Memorial Fund, Swanson Charitable Foundation, Warren Rotary and Rotary Club of Youngstown.