Youth activities are rebounding in a big way this year. There are loads of camps and other ways for youth to participate in the world again. For a lot of our kids, this past year has been extraordinarily challenging. From limited contact with friends and ways to channel their excess stress and energy, the kids were among those who suffered the most during this pandemic. This week, I wanted to highlight a short list of youth events that might inspire young people to find some light through expression. As the world returns to something that looks more normal, opportunities for kids to commune with others and to express themselves will grow. The school year is coming to a close, finding positive outlets for kids should be in no short supply.
Annual Ali Festival: Youth Poetry and Art Contest
It has been five years since the passing of Muhammad Ali. To commemorate another year without the Louisville Lip, the Ali Center is inviting student poets and artist to submit pieces based on provided themes related to Ali’s life and legacy. To submit, students must have parental permission and use the form on the Muhammad Ali Center website: alicenter.org/ali-fest.
The contest is open to all students from kindergarten through high school.
Creative prompts for the contest range from creating artwork from something you know about Ali’s life to giving kids the opportunity to reflect on his six core principles (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Respect, Giving and Spirituality) to how his activism can inform their own.
The deadline for submission is June 13, 2021.
Louisville Ballet Spring Dance Festival
Each spring, the Louisville Ballet hosts a dance festival that includes performances by the Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble, Classical Ballet Program, Complementary Program, Pre-Professional Program, Mind Body Balance, and the Louisville Ballet Studio Company. This year the showcase is digital. The festival runs from May 21-22 but will be streaming until June 21. Tickets are available for the full weekend or for just the performance days you’re most interested in.
In addition to the Spring Festival, the offerings of youth beginner classes and camps might be a great way to get the younguns moving again. Safety protocols are in place. There are four preschool dance parties and the summer program, which includes classes for ages 3–12. No previous dance experience is required
Speak Your Truth
This event isn’t until the end of June, but young women ages 13-17 have plenty of time to ready their words for Lipstick Wars and the BAYA Center’s Speak Your Truth open mic and poetry slam. BAYA’s mission statement says the goal of the organization is to “encourage, inspire, and develop youth to find their inner voice; impacting families and communities everywhere.” BAYA stands for Beautiful As You Are and was started by Tanisha Frederick in May of 2014. The organization opened its first learning center in 2020 and offers empowerment workshops, dance, art and other opportunities for young girls to grow and express themselves in a safe, nurturing environment. Partnering with Lipstick Wars, founded by spoken-word artist Rheonna Nicole, the BAYA center will bring an evening of poetry and other open mic performances to its older youth audience. The event will happen on June 26 from 4–7 p.m.. All youth that want to participate should email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This might be the perfect opportunity for youth to express some of those difficult feelings that have popped up over the last year during the pandemic.