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Kids of all ages get a kick out of Renfrew Institute's Youth Festival

May 27, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Nathan Shreiner, 7, of Chambersburg, Pa., navigates his kayak at Renfrew Institute's 23rd Annual Youth Festival in Waynesboro (Pa.) on Sunday.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Kids might have ruled the roost at Renfrew Institute’s 23rd annual Youth Festival on Sunday, but their parents had just as much fun being kids again.

More than a dozen activities were centered around the whimsical theme, “Happily Ever After ... The Magic & Merriment of Fairy Tales.”

The free event, underwritten by a grant from Susquehanna Bank, had something for everyone.

For those who dreamed of holding an itsy-bitsy spider, “Bug Man” Ryan Bridge was happy to oblige.

Circus Master Ben Sota made Kody Kelley’s dream of circus life come true — as least for a few hours.

It was tough at first for the left-hander to spin a plate on a stick, but in no time at all, he looked like a professional.

“Look, Mom, I’m doing it,” said Kody, 10, of Waynesboro.

Kody’s mother, MJ Kelley, said her son has always been interested in circus performers.

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Not only did he get a lesson in plate spinning, but he learned the fine art of juggling.

“This is special for him because he is learning from a trained circus master,” MJ Kelley said. “This is something he’s always wanted to learn, so it’s just perfect.”

About 300 children and their parents attended the event, said Tracy Holliday, Renfrew’s assistant director and youth festival coordinator.

“Renfrew Institute is a nonprofit education organization, and the cornerstone of our mission is education.

But an opportunity to invite youth for an unstructured day of fun is a gift to the community,” Holliday said.

Beginning in January, volunteer committee members Kim Sheffler, Traci Walizer and Kathy Bourdeau start brainstorming ideas for the festival.

Holliday said not only do the kids have a great time at the event, but “there’s a lot of vicarious fun happening on the parents’ part.”

For Regina Shreiner of Chambersburg, Pa., attending the youth festival with her children, Nathan, 7, and Alexis, 9, has become a family tradition.

While Nathan navigated his orange kayak in the water, his mother stood on the bank having just as much fun watching her son as he was having on his watery adventure.

“I like it because you get to go in the water,” Nathan said.

Alexis preferred activities on land.

“I like coming because there are a lot of activities to do,” she said.

She made a butterfly feeder while her brother opted for concocting a red apple just like the one that put Snow White to sleep.

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