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From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., visitors can groove to the sounds of national and local bands. Performers will include Mark St. Mary Louisiana Blues and Zydeco Band, the Sheryl Cormier Band, Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic and Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience. Besides Southern and Cajun food for sale, you can visit the farm animals, shop specialty vendors, and join in the dancing and dance lessons. Advance tickets are available online through Monday at www.ebparks.org or by calling 888-327-2757 and selecting option 2. The price is $18 per adult (16 and older) and $3 per child (4 through 15 years). Ages 3 and younger get in free.
On the day of the event, tickets at the freed dance shoes gate cost $22 per adult and $5 per child, It’s still free for kids 3 and younger, Parking is free, Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84, the Dumbarton Bridge approach, For information, call 510-544-2797, Del Valle is located on Del Valle Road off Mines Road about five miles south of Livermore, There’s a per-vehicle parking fee, For registration and information, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2, For the Sunday program, refer to number 2933, For Aug, 25 the number is 2934..
This isn’t the first time the young entrepreneur has organized the popular cheerleading camp. “I started teaching cheer to a small group of girls when I was 13,” says the 17- year-old, who is on her school’s varsity cheer squad. “By the end of the first week, the group had grown from 12 to 22 girls.”. Bender has been running cheer camps every summer since, but this year the class outgrew her home and she turned to the Danville Recreation Department to see if they could provide a new location. The result was two weeks of Anna’s Cheer Camp at Hap Magee Ranch Park, attended by 110 girls in all, ranging in age from 5 to 13 years. The church camp drew another 140 participants. The cost was $200 for residents, $240 for nonresidents. The girls not only learned cheer skills and dance; Bender said they also reflected on the concept of “cheer” from within.
“The theme of the camp was the nine ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ — love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control,” said Bender, who hires friends from her varsity cheer squad to help teach the camps, “We also created a Cheer Chore List for kids to help out at home and talked about how to be a good friend and good listener.”, One camper’s mother shared with Bender how her daughter talked with her siblings about the friendship skills freed dance shoes she’d learned at camp..
“So we’re reaching not just the girls at camp, but their siblings and friends as well,” says Bender. For the past two years, Bender — who is a member of East Bay Foursquare Church in Danville — has incorporated missionary work into her cheer camps. Last year the girls made soft puppets and English-learning cards for kids in Rwanda. “We also collected clothes for HIV-positive women and organized a ‘Make A Child Smile’ fundraiser,” said Bender, who visited Rwanda last Christmas with her family. “We gave the children food, a new T-shirt and a bottle of water — things they don’t usually have access to.” Bender said her trip to Rwanda was eye-opening.
“It was inspiring to see life from another perspective — freed dance shoes to see how people struggle just to meet their basic needs,” she said, This year, the campers made tie-dye pillowcases, which they sent to the Otino Waa Children’s Village, an orphanage in Uganda, Kim McKnight, whose 9-year-old daughter, Delilah Belle, has attended Bender’s cheer camp for the past four years, says she likes the element of philanthropy, “Anna is a great example of a young person doing good in many different ways,” said McKnight, “She’s a staple of our summer.” McKnight says Delilah Belle loves the camp..
“She likes being with girls her own age and doing things that girls like — such as dance and cheer,” said McKnight. “She also loves having the big girls to look up to. The high school girls are wonderful role models.” Bender gives back in her local community too. “I gave eight free camps this year through school auctions,” said Bender. She also created roles within the camp this summer for two youngsters who are ill but wanted to participate in some way. With her senior year just around the corner, Bender is thinking about college, at which she wants to major in business.
“I have my eyes set on Southern Methodist University (in Dallas) which has a strong business program,” said Bender, who has been encouraged by freed dance shoes the college to apply for its Hunt Scholarship, “The scholarship is designed for students who have shown leadership,” she said, “Leadership has always been my strong suit — even in second grade, I was recognized by my class for leadership.”, Henry Perezalonso, recreation services manager for the Town of Danville, said all its summer camps offer a great opportunity for kids to meet other kids..