Happy Movers Camp focuses on healthy living

Take a deep breath, then let go of the school year in a long exhale.

Because it’s time to exchange those math and English books for yoga mats and trade your classrooms for the Manship Theatre’s stage.

It’s where the theater’s third annual Happy Movers Camp will take place.

“And the thing they like best is they get to kick off their shoes,” Melanie Couvillon said. “They don’t get to do that in school.”

But school’s out, remember?

“This is something fun for kids,” Couvillon said. “It gives them something different to do.”

Couvillon is the theater’s director of Family Programming, Events and Educational Outreach. She developed the Happy Movers Camp three years ago, focusing mainly on yoga for children.

The idea was to offer a camp that focused on healthy living and fitness in a fun setting. The camp has since evolved to include dance and theater activities. And thrown into the mix is a movie and a visit to the LSU Museum of Art on the fifth floor of the Shaw Center for the Arts.

The theater is located on the first floor and is awaiting the 35-or-so kids age 6-11 to fill the camp. Registration is open through Wednesday, June 5, and the camp is set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 10-14.

Tuition is $175 for each camper, and the Manship Theatre is partnering with Big Buddy of Baton Rouge to offer 10 scholarships for economically disadvantaged children.

The fee will include a camp T-shirt, as well as admission to the museum and the film Happy Feet 2 at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 12, in the theater. Campers also will stage a family performance on Friday, June 14.

“The camp initially started with the idea of yoga,” Couvillon said. “My cousin is a yoga teacher, and she’s certified in children’s yoga. So, we started this as an active camp for children. We added the theater element last year with the idea that actors have to keep their bodies physically fit to do their jobs. This year, our focus will be on healthy eating and snacking.”

Which will require some hands-on activities. See, the yoga instructor also will be working with campers in creating their own healthy snacks. And what happens once the snacks are made?

“They’ll be eating their own snacks,” Couvillon said. “It’s all consistent with our focus on a healthy lifestyle.”

The camp is staffed by professional instructors and artists and usually takes place in the Manship’s Hartley/Vey Studio Theatre.

“But the Hartley/Vey is undergoing some renovations this summer, which is why we’ll be on the actual Manship stage,” Couvillon said. “But that will be fun.”

So, grab your yoga mat and head over to the Manship Theatre on June 10. That is, after preregistering.

“Everyone is required to bring a yoga mat,” Couvillon said.

It’s what you’ll need to relax and forget about the rigors of tests and pop quizzes.

Which is always a great way to welcome summer.

To register or for more information, call (225) 344-0334 or visit http://www.manshiptheatre.org.