Steamboat Springs Mike Kinnecom said the local African dance and drumming group Kiki Mato is like a family.
"We just want to be around each other," he said. "We have so much fun participating in all the things we do."
Kinnecom is one of 21 African dancers and drummers who received a partial scholarship from the Steamboat Dance Theatre to attend Bantu Camp in Santa Fe in May.
Today, Ben & Jerry's in Wildhorse Marketplace will do its part to see to it that more dancers receive scholarships. The ice cream shop is giving out free cones from noon to 8 p.m. today as part of a national campaign, and donations will fund Steamboat Dance Theatre's scholarship program.
"Our scholarship program funds anyone interested in studying dance who has financial need, from 2 years old to any age," said Wendy Smith Mikelsons, president of the theater. "For the 2006-07 fiscal year, we are giving out $4,000 in scholarship money, which is raised primarily from proceeds from the annual dance concerts, and we also solicit donations, write grants and receive donations from events like this Free Cone Day."
Kinnecom would not have been able to attend the African dance and drumming camp if it were not for the theater's scholarship program.
"The camp is something everyone feels they have to do every year," he said. "They told me once you go the first time, you will be hooked and want to go every year."
Kinnecom plays drums for local African dancers three days a week and at special events.
"We will learn different styles from different cultures," he said of the camp. "There are teachers from all different regions of West Africa."
Members of Steamboat Dance Theatre will be available at Ben & Jerry's today to answer questions and provide information about the scholarship program.
"We have funded students to study in our town, in workshops in Denver and also funded students to study out of state," Smith Mikelsons said. "Ben & Jerry's is so generous to do this for us."