Reflecting On The Summer Arts Camp
I’m feeling blessed and fortunate to have been able to participate, once again, in Metro's annual Summer Arts Camp at McCay Park. This year was a challenge in getting it organized - lots of paperwork was involved, volunteers had to get fingerprinted and background checked, and there had to be a real commitment by the teachers and volunteers months in advance. However, by opening day on July 13, I was as excited as the children!
Jessica Gelber taught drawing in a unique way. Each child was given a mirror and were showed how to look in the mirror and draw what they saw. In some drawings, you could see how the children saw themselves. This presented an opportunity to minister to a particular child that did like what she saw in the reflection and share with her how we saw her. Pastor Sanetta and others stepped in to give encouragement and affirmation. I still pray for that young girl.
At our craft table with Dawn Cruz, pieces of colored paper became beautiful personal journaling envelopes. None of the kids wanted to stop, adding as many things as they could to their envelopes.Lorelei Pratt developed a STEM learning experience for the kids, teaching them about Forensic Science. They had to gather evidence to solve a “crime,” and even some of the camp's littlest ones at 5 and 6 years old, were able to participate. Romulo Rodriguez had children following him like little duckling playing ball, while learning the rules of paying attention.
My jewelry making table brought its own kind of creative joy. I always pointed out to the children that their bracelets and necklaces are unique because it was created by them and no one else has one like it. It’s special like they are. This year I had a tearful moment when this tall young man walked up and said hello to me. I recognized him from previous years when he was just a little boy and now he is taller then me and a camp counselor! That was a hug of pure joy. He told me he still had his bracelets from the previous years at the Arts Camp.
As part of the grand finale, we were treated to a special entertainment by DJ Anthony Cappola, who led the children in old-school activities like jump rope, hula hoop contests, and balloon animals.
At the end of the camp two weeks later, the children thanked us and wanted to know when we would be back. Through all the paperwork, initial challenges of organizing volunteers, and the hot and rainy days, what I will remember most is the interaction with the kids and the way they were so engaged with each of their projects and activities. Metro reached these children with not only our skills, but with caring patience and love, and it made a difference in their lives. I’m so appreciative of our staff, teachers, and volunteers; God knows it can’t be done without you!
Submitted by Deborah Moore