Camp is a place where children and youngsters can reinvent themselves. This inner growth happens because of the environment of camp. Children are taken away from their comfort zones and learn from their own experience. Playing sports, making new friends, learning about themselves and their own culture or trying a new activity have the power to change lives. Yet, the camp activity that has the most effective power to instill a deep sense of accomplishment in children is art. Art workshops are a place where campers can learn something about themselves, develop their creativity, and take home something beautiful that makes them proud.
The best summer camps are those that underscore the value of artistic activities. Art workshops raise aesthetic awareness on children and make them realize the power of their own capabilities. Artistic activities help to inspire campers, make them realize they can be creative. Creativity means taking risks and making something special. Producing an artwork changes campers. They see themselves differently and feel a sense of pride and power. Visual arts at camp certainly enhance identity development. They promote a positive self-expression which may become the cornerstone of psycho-social development. Artistic expression has the power to shape campers’ identities and improve their interaction with the world. Self-expression through art makes people feel secure and open to innovation. This situation makes young people thrive. It may easily become the foundation of a strong self-esteem.
Being creative through visual arts also has a deep pedagogical benefit. It provides children with a set of skills such as persistence, observing, envisioning, innovating through exploration, and reflective self-evaluation. This abilities may become cognitive habits necessary for this rapidly changing world. Therefore, as an educator, I definitely recommend camps that emphasize the value of artistic activities.
Dr. Gabriel Rutherford