Many Examples Of The Arts At Our Summer Camp In NHJuly 17, 2014
The Importance Of The Arts At Our Summer Camp In NH, and Jell-O Wrestling
It feels like every day at our summer camp in NH has a particular characteristic or flavor to it. This past Saturday was all about spirit and being a part of a team effort. Sunday was about critical problem solving. Today was all about being creative at our many art studios.
Wherever I walked today campers were deeply involved in so many of the visual and performing arts that we offer here. In the woodshop I watched boys make their own ping pong paddles and rustic signs for their bedrooms at home. I also saw a group of boys take fallen tree limbs from our forest, strip off the bark, and turn them into walking sticks for their upcoming mountain climb. Later in the day there were girls in the wood shop making beautiful chairs, shelves and benches.
Down the hall Ceramics Andy spent much of the day teaching master classes on throwing on the potter’s wheel to our junior campers. Andy has been a teacher at our summer camp in NH for seventeen summers, and he is incredible at helping our campers develop their skills over the arc of their camp career. All this week Andy has been working with our seniors on creating their own decorative teapots. After throwing them on the wheel, or hand building them, they have then been using different materials to add textures and patterns to the sides of their vessels. We can’t wait for you to see their work on Visiting Day!
Filmmaking has been extremely popular this summer. Campers of all ages seem to love working with Jillian, our head of this activity. In the morning I watched a group of Senior girls cackle with laughter as they watched the final edit of a satirical movie that they wrote, acted in and directed. It was really, really funny, and will be up on our Youtube channel in the coming days.
Evergreen wasn’t the only camp using the film studio today. I saw two Kenwood Junior camp crews filming in front of the green screen today. This backdrop allows them to insert any still or moving images that they want behind their footage, enabling them to create pretty wild special effects.
Just last week our staff also started teaching something new in the film studio: sound editing. Many of our counselors are quite adept at recording and editing with Garageband. They asked us if they could use our equipment to teach this skill to the campers, and we of course said yes. For the past few days campers have been coming up to tell me how much they loved this activity.
Today I also watched groups of campers producing some very cool and creative images in our photography studio. Naomi Elson, our photography counselor, has taught them how to transform photographs into pictures that look hand drawn. From there they have been creating their own comic books and newspapers. I will posted some of their incredible artistry tomorrow!
I was also fortunate to get to hang out in the Cooking Laboratory this afternoon. The theme in cooking this week is Mexican food, so today campers were learning how to make different types of guacamole, salsa, and quesadillas. Rosario, our head of this activity, was no only teaching the kids how to follow her recipes, but how to experiment with different ingredients and tastes. She was also giving them information on how to know which fruits and vegetables were at their peak of ripeness, and the science behind blending different types of tastes!
So it was a great day for the arts at our summer camp. It was also a great night for fun and silliness. In Kenwood it was the second Hobby Night of the summer. When I was a camper this was my favorite evening activity, as it allowed me to pursue the activities about which I was most passionate. 30 or so years later the same remains true for our campers. Tonight we offered the following activities for all of our Kenwood Junior campers: archery, ropes course, batting cage, tennis, rock climbing, model rocketry, soccer, ceramics, photography and comic book design, street hockey, water skiing, film making, jamming in the music building, basketball, cooking, wood shop, and bocce. Whew. What a list! Tonight there was something for everyone.
And tonight’s Evergreen activity was one of our silliest, most cherished events: Jell-O Wrestling. All afternoon our facility manager Pete and his crew were mixing up a batch of bright green Jell-O. It was messy, slimy, and all sorts of gooey fun. Just after dinner they poured all 800 or so pounds of it into an inflatable wrestling ring that they had set up in the Hollow. Just after Free Play our entire girls’ camp converged on the area, many with elaborately painted faces and bodies.
As always, our counselors made the event even more with their silliness. A la the WWE, they pretended that there was a rift between our American and European counselors, and arrived at the event covered in war paint, wrapped in the flags of their countries. With each match teams of girls got up to theirs ears in the Jell-O, and from across the property you could hear the laughing and cheering. This event is what our summer camp in NH is all about. It’s silly and funny and just a little outside most people’s comfort zones. It’s also about collaboration, about supporting your friends, about taking a healthy risk, and about understanding the importance of when to not be self-conscious.