JCC diversifies programs for kids

E-sports, arts get children out of house

YOUNGSTOWN — Whether horseback riding, building with Legos, using computers or painting, the Jewish Community Center is offering a variety of specialty summer camps for area children.

From June to early August, children have been able to attend daily and specialty camps at the JCC.

Specialty camps focus on a specific area of interest — E-sports Competitive Video Gaming Camp, 3D Printing Camp, Crayola Imagine Arts Academy, Artist’s Passport and Horseback Riding Camp.

The new program called E-sports will have a special unveiling this week with the launch of a state-of the-art E-sports Arena, 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the center, 505 Gypsy Lane.

Zach Gagliardi, director of the E-sports camp held in July, said E-sports is a rapidly growing competitive individual and team-based experience through video games.

The JCC is offering online tournaments, clinics and camps with the E-sports Arena to be available for open play most evenings.

Laura Weymer, JCC health / wellness director, said the Thursday event is free and will allow participants to learn about the JCC E-sports offerings and play games on personal computers, as well as various consoles with all of the latest games.

Gagliardi, who played for the University of Akron varsity E-sports program, is the E-sports coach.

Hunter Thomas, director for the specialty camps and the summer long camp, said the programs are following all safety guidelines with social distancing and children being in small family units. He said the children stay in their group and do not interact with other groups.

Weymer said for E-sports, 10 computers were set up for the camp, offered for two weeks in July.

“There is a lot of hands-on. The competitive video games are very popular for the children. There will be some tournaments this year,” she said.

Gagliardi said the children learned about computers and computer games that each selected.

“We plan to continue this program in the fall,” Weymer said noting with its popularity, it will become a permanent program at the JCC.

She said the games allow for problem-solving strategies, learning computer skills and working together as teams while competing and having fun.

“Children were inside their homes for months so it was great opportunity to come back and do things at the JCC,” she said.

Bryce Allison, 13, of Youngstown, said he took part in the E-sports for two weeks because it was what he found to be the most fun.

He said he likes playing the game Road Block.

Thomas said many children like the hands-on activities of the camps such as art-related camps made possible by the Paul and Yetta Gluck School of Visual Arts.

Dana Goodfriend, art educator and curator with Paul and Yetta Gluck School, said the Wild Things classes are designed to allow children to be creative and have fun.

For one activity, children made landscapes with wild things using paint.

Victoria Dilallo, 8, of Howland, said she liked the variety of the things to do in the camps.

“I like painting and drawing and picked this camp,” she said.

Children also had the opportunity to take part in afternoon swimming at the Logan Campus in Liberty.



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