Summer Yoga Camp Teaching Kids to Cope with Everyday Life and Manage Their Stress
By: Daniyah Straghn
DELRAY BEACH – As the summer break winds down, parents in Palm Beach County are having a unique opportunity to help their little ones chill out for the rest of the long, hot summer.
Kids ages 6 to 12 are learning tips for quieting the mind, practicing meditation, and enjoying fun yoga games in a two-week camp.
Camp ATHA is also engaging them in yoga postures that teach focus, concentration, determination, and stress management. It also incorporates breath work, movement, and interactive games that facilitate social-emotional development, health and wellness coach Dean Fazzolari said.
“It is so much fun, not to mention engaging,” Fazzolari added. “I have been teaching the kids about different life skills that can be utilized beyond breath and nutrition.”
Nestled on four acres abutting the south end of Plumosa Middle School of the Arts, the camp, at 2219 Seacrest Blvd., Delray Beach, offers a new and different option for parents seeking more than the average camp experience for their child. Atha offers kids classes Monday through Saturday throughout the year along with Mommy & Me classes.
“It’s somewhere for kids to be kids, to unplug, to get away from their electronics, to connect with nature, to do group activities, and to feel good, mentally and physically,” said Amanda Mintz, a yoga instructor and real estate broker, who is heading up the camp.
After seeing the struggles children, including her son, Jason, faced during the pandemic and recent headlines in the news, Mintz said she was inspired to create the yoga class, designed specially for kids.
Camp ATHA boasts a wide area for outside play while learning, tons of natural vegetation on the property and an air-conditioned room for indoor activities.
Campers will also have a butterfly garden and a treehouse.
Studies have shown that teaching mindfulness can reduce disciplinary actions and create a more harmonious environment at home and in the classroom.
The camp, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will teach kids how to feel at home in their own bodies and how to connect to and appreciate the earth, organizers said.
“This is the best camp,” said Harper, a fourth grader who has been taking children’s classes at ATHA and is looking forward to camp. “There’s a food tent, there’s a drink tent and this place is very safe. When parents are watching a movie, the kids can run around and play.”
Penelope likes camp because of the “cool things” she can do.
“Other camps are like, ‘No you can’t do this, it’s dangerous,’ ‘You can’t eat this, you’re going to get hurt,’” the third grader said. “Here you’re allowed to climb trees and you can eat so many cool things that grow here.”
Jack Darden who has been doing yoga classes weekly for the past four years, thinks that in an age with increasing pressures on kids, the camp will produce strong, confident, and conscious children who are self-actualized, positive forces in our society.
He can be considered the unofficial posterchild for ATHA.
“When I first got here, I could barely bend over,” Darden said, adding that through a combination of motivation and inspiration he has a lot more range and motion now.
“I’ve seen some yoga instructors online and for the most part, they tell you to get into your pose. But these guys bring life lessons as well, he said.
“These guys here, they are literally life savers because I would be in bad shape without this yoga. My hip was going down quickly.”
To learn more about ATHA or the summer camp, call 561-857-1157.