Arts & crafts, crab ball highlight kids' day camp


April 19, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Mariano Velez, the coordinator of Calexico's spring break day camp, gave Graciela Batani, 6, a "low five" when she bounded in the door.

Graciela, a little taller than a yard stick, is used to "low fives."

This week during spring break recess, Graciela, her brothers, Marcos, 11, and Christian, 8, and more than 60 students from local Calexico elementary schools have been dropped off daily at the Jose Rodriquez Community Center on Dool Avenue for a spring break day-care program put together by the school district and the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

The first session runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and the second from 1 to 4 p.m.

All week the children have been working on arts and crafts projects and playing exercise-inducing games such as crab ball.

Crab ball is a version of soccer requiring players to assume a four-legged crab position (walking on their hands and feet; back arched) while kicking the ball through a goal.


Graciela said she is great at crab ball.

Her brother Marcos said she is better at a game called "chain reaction."

Velez, wearing a Tigger baseball cap and the unflagging grin of the A.H. Milne character, explained "chain reaction."

"The kids form two lines with a ball between them at the end of the rows. On the other end the first two children hold colored cards. As they flip through the pre-arranged set of cards, we suddenly call out a color.

"Since they both have the same cards they see the same color at the same time. They then have to reach behind themselves and squeeze the hand of the person standing behind them.

This starts a chain reaction. The first team to feel the squeeze at the end of the rows grabs the ball."

Marcos said Graciela plays chain reaction well because when she feels the squeeze she shakes all over.

He mimicked her shimmy and laughed as Graciela ignored her brother and continued to eat her apple.

On Wednesday, Marcos and Graciela teamed up on the red squad for "kickball relay."

"Kickball relay" involves kicking, running around bases, standing in lines, passing a ball overhead and a lot of cheering.

Marcos and Graciela got hammered by the yellow squad and brother Christian, 145-116.

Marcos said one of the things he looks forward to during the week is the opportunity to play alongside his siblings and be on one team. Graciela, to his left, nodded.

He left to go get some punch as Graciela showed off her still-life tissue collage of a bowl of fruit.

Across the room Marcos picked up his cup of punch and his allotted two chips, apple, orange and cracker on a napkin.

Christian leaned over and whispered, "I like it when we are on separate teams."

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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