The day starts with a meeting, every day a morning meeting with Diana, the camp director, and the volunteers, discussing the agenda for the busy day we’ve got ahead of us; emergency action plans, beach-ball volley ball, the kid’s most recent projects, no detail is spared, after all, when it comes to looking after 50 kids, it’s better to be over-prepared than under. We split up for arrival, five people downstairs to help kids out of their cars and into the building, the rest upstairs in the Buchanan room waiting to check in the kids and entertain them until the start of class. It’s routine by now, I’ve done it everyday for the last few weeks, yet I still can’t help but feel a flutter of excitement every morning before the kids come in. I wonder to myself what kinds of silly things the kids will do today. It’s never the same thing twice, every day is different. I sit at the check in desk and hear the familiar sound of giggling and little feet racing to get to the door first, I smile to myself and prepare; for the next 6 hours, it will be a whirlwind of activity and laughter. The kids arrive and line up for class. “Straightest quietest line gets to go up first!” I shout through my megaphone. The kids shush each other and throw their arms to their sides and stand up as straight as they can, like a small army of mismatched snickering toy soldiers. I dismiss the group I deem straightest and quietest, during the first day of camp, the kids get to rename their group, so instead of just Group A, B, or C, they are now the Neon Ninjas, or the Careless Cupcakes of DOOM. The kids cheer when their group is called and we dismiss them to their first set of classes. As I walk through the halls I stop in each class to see how the kids are doing. In ceramics, the kids pound and throw their clay on the slab; taking great care as they try to create the masterpieces they have pictured in their minds, by the end of the session, a plethora of wonderful pieces are cooking in the kiln. In art masters they recreate Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers; they hang in the window to dry creating a bright sea of deep yellows and oranges, catching the eye and admiration of everyone who passes by. The kids in glass take great care while cutting each little sheet of glass into the exact shape they need to fit onto their newly made picture frames, they build wind chimes and sun catchers, and master glass making skills way beyond their years. The saw in the woodshop buzzes loudly and I look in and see racecars, helicopters, and doorknobs, I watch the kids with big smiles on their faces as they realize all that they’ve accomplished in such a small amount of time. Classes come to an end and the kids seem more energized than ever, I’m on my third cup of coffee by this point but still can’t help feeling a sense of great accomplishment, another successful day come and gone. I think of tomorrow and all the fun and unpredictability that come with it. I’ve always held the belief of doing what you love, finding something you’re good at that you love to do, and turning it into a life, and this job truly has turned into much more than just work, it’s become a life.
Written By: Devon Miller, VisArts Camp Co-Director