Focusing on new schools

Children learn new outdoor activities

LORDSTOWN — Village children have been spending four weeks of their summer break from school learning new schools, including schools of fishing, archery, nature viewing and dancing.

The recreational activities are part of the annual Jean Ann Smith Summer Fun Days, which are held annually at the park in memory of Smith, who had worked as a village park and recreation director.

Marty Gibson, parks and recreation director, said cheerleading was added this year with an instructor from Cheer Time in Niles.

In addition to physical activities such as tennis, drama, music and dancing, there are mental activities, such as Challenge 24 and chess.

“Jean was instrumental in getting this program started when she handled recreation. It had grown each year it has been held now in her memory,” said Gibson, noting there are 80 to 90 children participating.

Activities are for ages 3 to sixth grade, with high school students serving as aides. Gibson said children can select three programs. Those who select dance spend all four weeks learning.

“If it is archery, we have older children for that while there are programs geared for those in kindergarten and younger,” she said.

For the last day of the program on July 26, there will be a program with students doing sign language, cheerleading, dancing and musical programs.

“This is a place for the children to go during the summer,” Gibson said.

Champion Insurance of Austintown has provided food for breakfast meals and snacks for the children.

Josie Toporcer, a camp counselor and college students, said she takes the children on tours of the nearby woods so they can learn about nature.

Children have opportunity to see local wildlife which in some years has included deer.

Jack Gut, 9, Leavittsburg, said he likes archery and signed up for that class.

“I thought it would be a lot of fun using a bow and arrow,” Gut said.

At the park’s small pond which is stocked with fish, children are learning to fish. Anthony Stevens, 7, said he caught a catfish.

Brenda Zannetakis, archery instructor, said she has taken part in the program for six summers.

“Archery is one class that always fills up fast. The children learn the basics of archery and hitting a target,” she said.