CHICAGO — AileyCamp just wrapped up another season in Chicago with a grand finale performance Saturday afternoon.

With dances, drums and discovery, nearly 70 children spent the summer participating in AileyCamp at Saucedo Scholastic Academy in North Lawndale.

Camp director Lazette Rayford said the transformations were amazing with the kid trying new things making new friends and having a broader view of their abilities.

“There’s a whole community even beyond Chicago who really want to see them be great and succeed in their lives,” Rayford said.

The campers are learning everything from ballet to West African dance and Horton Modern dance technique, but the lessons are much more than movement.

Nasha Thomas, the camp’s national director said Alvin Ailey started the program to try to give young people something to do in the summer. The program now operates in ten cities across the country.

“Self-esteem, decision making, critical thinking, life skills,” Thomas said.

A few dancers have even gone from the camp to a career with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Camp closes with the young people hitting the stage to showcase what they learned. AileyCamp will be back for another run next year.

AileyCamp gives them a platform to express themselves to have a voice to find their voice, Thomas said.