Creative Arts Camp, Puzzles and Playdough
It amazes me how energy emerges when a group of children spend a week together doing what they need to do in the summer- PLAY, PLAY, PLAY. Our first year offering Christ Church Creative Arts Camps was a complete success. Exhausting, yes, but more importantly time spent creating a place of happiness where everyone is a part of the team.
The first week of Camp (which ran from 9-4, Monday-Friday) we hosted 11 children between the ages of 4-12. The theme was Freedom and our week together ended by being part of a parade and a performance onstage at the first Juneteenth Celebration in Brunswick.
The second week we hosted 19 children, ages 4-12 and our theme was Rainbows and Cowboys. Our production at the end of this week was a Talent Show, a selection of songs by the Rainbows, and a skit by the Cowboys.
Upon arrival the campers went back to the Son Porch that became the Game Room. Monopoly, Sorry, Twister, Go Fish, Battleship, Foosball, Relays, Chants, Museum, What Am I, guitar, singing, telling jokes- you name it, we played it. Notice the absence of electronics? Electronics were not invited.
Our playgrounds came alive with kiddos playing Tag, Red Rover, Red Light/Green Light, creating Cheer Routines, and (don’t tell Oscar) but one highlight was Super Soaker Day on the grounds where being drenched was the goal. We were completely respectful of our cemetery grounds and I hope to think there were smiling ancestors surrounding us.
By Wednesday of each week the campers are a family. We do everything together and we rejoice in that. No one is left out of ANYTHING. There is no tardy bell, no competition, and no losers. Everyone gets a turn.
This is where the energy emerges. It happened in Austin, TX too, where I offered camps as well. The first week of Campers gravitated to jigsaw puzzles. The second week of Campers immersed themselves in Playdough creations. We also had an Art Project each day that became our set for the performance at the end of the week.
One completely intentional project we had was creating Tye-Dye t-shirts thanks to Rev. Leigh! Each camper and counselor/volunteer made one of their very own, and the COOLEST PART is our Christ Church name and logo big and bold on the front of the t-shirt. We have extras available in various sizes for $10 if you would like one. Can we say EVANGELISM??
There are folks I need to thank tremendously for their help in pulling this off. Jody Bradford, Beth Varne, Bess Thompson, Greg Hollis, Leigh Hall, Donna Purdy, Glenn Queener, Lynn Turner, Mary Hardee, Shannon Vaughn, and our FABULOUS youth counselors- Tori Wolfe, Sally Smith, and Camryn Jones. None of this could have happened with out this team. Parents were fabulous and shared that their child slept really well all week. J
But there is more that came out of our first year of Creative Arts Camps. As Father Tom shared in his Rector’s Rambling, this past week marked the one year anniversary of Merritt Levitan’s death while bicycling across the country. She was struck and killed at the age of 18 by a motorist who was distracted while texting. Merritt’s family (members of Christ Church) established some charitable outreach efforts to pass along Merritt’s legacy through making the world a better place. One of those is the Text Less Live More campaign, which you can read about here: http://www.merrittsway.org/initiatives/textless-live/.
The campaign’s goal is to, “decrease excessive phone use and encourage people to disconnect from the virtual world and reattach themselves to the real world…and also prevent dangerous habits like texting and driving.”
It dawned on me that there is a spirit connecting our Camps to Merritt. Remember when I stated electronics are not invited? I’ve also always had a thing for rainbows being a part of camps. At the Cheshire/Levitan family gathering last year in Neptune Park shortly after Merritt’s death there were rainbows, and all agreed Merritt had something to do with that. So I’ve been in touch with Anna, Rich, Ed and Judy. Camps in future years will be named the Merrit Levitan Memorial Creative Arts Camps of Christ Church.
And so I offer one of my sayings in life- it’s a God thing.
In faith and thanksgiving,