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Local children experience 'Drama Rama'

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Atlanta resident, Tamiyah Garrett, does not lack for ambition when it comes to planning her future.

Garrett, 9, wants to be an actress, and a model, and a singer, and a dancer when she grows up. She has gotten a head start on the dancing career because she has been taking ballet classes for two years.

However, like Jennifer Lopez, who also began her career as a dancer before adding actress and singer to her titles, Garrett is ready to branch out, and diversify her skills.

"I'm interested in those things because I'm very girlie and I have a lot of energy," she said.

Garrett was one of 89 local children, ranging in age from 5 to 15, who spent last week learning how to get in touch with their inner actors or actresses, during "Drama Rama Week" at the Clayton County Parks and Recreation's "Camp All For One" at the Jim Huie Recreation Center.

"Camp All For One" also has locations at the Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center in Riverdale, and the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center in Rex.

The camp is actually broken up into two -- a youth camp and a teen camp. Every week at the camp has a different theme, such as "Drama Rama Week," "Friendship Week," "T.E.A.M. Week," and "Stars and Stripes Week."

The youth camp consists of 49 children between the ages of 5 and 11. It featured more dancing and basic acting activities during "Drama Rama Week," as well as a field trip to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, according to Candence Jackson, a coordinator for the "Youth Camp" at the Jim Huie Recreation Center.

"I liked going to the Center for Puppetry Arts and seeing how the puppets work," said Zaria Jones, 10, from Jonesboro. "It's amazing that they brought in the puppets which seemed to move on their own until you find out someone is making them move. I still don't understand how they made the jellyfish move, though."

For other children in the camp, the only thing that mattered was the stage.

"There is just nothing else to do but drama," said Asia Rose, 10, from McDonough. "The best part about this camp is that I have made so many friends here, and it was so easy to make friends here, too."

Skewed to an older age group, the teen camp consists of 40 children between the ages of 11 and 15. The children in this camp spent a lot of their time performing skits, which dealt with social issues facing teenagers, during "Drama Rama Week." The "Teen Camp" participants also tackled issues such as peer pressure and drug abuse.

"These are situations that may happen in real life, so we want them to learn how to deal with them, and this is a good way to do that," said Shacole Pearman, coordinator of the teen camps at the Jim Huie Recreation Center.

"It's been pretty good so far," said Jalen Sage, 15, a camper from College Park. "We've been acting out a lot of scenarios which look at the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do," he added.

"Overall, the last week has been great because we've learned a lot of new acting techniques ... like when you're in front of a crowd, you have to project your voice," said Alexandria Redding, 11, from Hampton.

For more information about "Camp All For One," contact the Clayton County Parks and Recreation department at (770) 477-3766.