Summer Camp Teaches Kids the Basics of Stepping
In the summer months, the inside of a school is usually the last place where kids want to be. But sometimes, an opportunity comes along that’s hard to pass up.
In the Robbinsdale School District’s ‘Intro to Step Camp’ program, children learn how to produce rhythms by clapping and stomping their feet.
“I think all kids love noise,” said Tammy Rucker, the step coach at Cooper High School. “So stepping is about noise and being creative. All kids love that. Even adults, we love it too.”
Rucker is serving as a ‘step adviser’ for this summer camp. This week, she’s teaching kids in grades K through 5 as part of the district’s Summer Academy program.
“If we can catch them now at an early age, I think it’s wonderful,” Rucker said.
Wonderful, not just because the kids are learning how to step at a young age, but because of what else they’re learning in the process.
“A lot of kids are learning social skills and how to interact with one another,” Rucker said. “They’re learning some patience and respect for the leadership roles, because they all get a chance to teach, if they’re not afraid.”
One of the kids in the camp is 8-year-old Olivia Martinez. She’s a returning participant from last year’s inaugural class.
“I like my teacher and how she teaches us,” Martinez said. “I like how I did it last summer, so I just wanted to do it again, and I basically knew all the commands.”
Every step team needs a leader to call out commands, and to help come up with different sounds and movements.
Martinez gained the confidence to take on that role as a result of her experience in 2017.
“When you’re calling a command, you have somebody’s attention,” Rucker said. “And to me, they’re showing the utmost respect because they are doing exactly what you ask them to do.”
The hope is that these kids take the next step and continue performing as they get older.
“Maybe when I get older in high school, I’ll be on the step team,” Martinez said.