We Did It Again!
Painted Turtle Arts Camp 2013 was a huge hit this summer! Without the support of Right to Play, our Community Theatre Fund Raising Initiatives, Chief and Council in Cat Lake, Slate Falls, Webequie and Fort Severn, Painted Turtle Staff and Camp Managers we would not have been such a success! Next year we hope to be in 8 communities by running Painted Turtle Arts Camp Training Program for community leaders in Canada's most Northern and remote regions.
We learned a lot this year as we have now completed 9 camps in 8 communities in only a year! I was absolutely thrilled to have had the privilege and honour in facilitating 9 Painted Turtle Arts Camp (PTAC) experiences since 2012. PTAC has evolved from a thought into a dynamic program designed for children to unleash their creative spirit and express their performing arts potential. This program has been made possible by the collaborative efforts of Right to Play, The Big Little Caravan of Joy and Friends of Noah Canada. I am also indebted to Right to Play for all the hard work that they have put in place so that this new and exciting summer program and arts-based curriculum can be shared with hundreds of children! The imagination of the young child is a garden of creative potential. PTAC provides an opportunity, for children from Northern communities, to cultivate those qualities as they discover enchanted worlds through stories and dances from magical lands. PTAC and it’s team possess the necessary tools to facilitate an arts-based camp and renew a sense of inspiration that infuses each and every child with something vital - joyful play! Gratitude abound and a huge thank you to all the Community Mentors, Painted Turtle Staff and the hundreds of children who have danced, sang and performed with joy! Our program would not be possible without the committed efforts of Bailey Davis, Paula Gilverson and Catherine Cheechoo!
The Design of the Program
The Painted Turtle Arts Camp is designed for First Nations children and youth. The objectives of The Painted Turtle Arts Camp are:
- To nurture every child’s creative spirit through creative expression and play
- To build a cohesive sense of community through teacher and artist education, performance-celebrations and creative expressions
- To offer opportunity for youth to be volunteers in an arts based environment and enhance their knowledge and interest in arts based activities
Every year, PLAY partner communities are invited to submit applications to host a Painted Turtle Arts Camp. The completion of an application allows for a process for the community to identify the need and interest for arts based programs as well as identifying resources and support to host the program.
This is How it Works!
The camp is supported by a team of Big Little Caravan of Joy staff and Right To Play staff. The team travels to host communities to provide creative and artistic guidance and logistical support to implement the weeklong camp. The team arrives and delivers a two day training to local staff in the areas of camp safety, behavior management, roles and responsibilities at camp, back pocket games and activities, dance, drama, visual art, parachute games, white belt training and the ABCs of putting on a performance.
The camp is a series of arts based activities including;
Visual Arts - Young children love to paint, cut, draw, glue, and design pictures. In this workshop, participants will explore colour and shape, and develop skills for making a variety of projects that are inspired by their imagination.
Music - These workshops will emphasize the importance and value of children chants, singsongs, and singing in the round. Chants and songs are an important and valuable teaching tool, which provide the child with the basic foundations upon which language and grammar structures can be built.
Dance and Drama - Children are given an opportunity to cultivate their imaginations as they discover enchanted worlds through, stories and dances from magical lands. This workshop will give participants fun and spirited ideas that help unleash the creative spirit of the child, through dance, drama games and performance.
Energetic Games that Inspire Cooperation - These workshops will include games that inspire a connection to the cooperation and group synergy. The purpose of these workshops is to offer children a group cooperative games that will not only promote teamwork, but will also develop the child’s physical capabilities and appreciation for the working together.
Fitness and Health - These workshops will include a fitness program and healthy snacks.
Guest Artists: We were incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with local community artists. In Cat Lake, Randy Fox came in for half an hour each day to teach the kids the graffiti alphabet. In Slate Falls, Chancillor Crane instructed children in drawing for the first time. He taught the children to draw a variety of pictures like bush planes, moose, wolves and the northern treeline. In Webequie, Ananias Jacob is well known for his beautiful murals painted in the Woodland style all around the school. Ananias worked in the visual arts rotation each day and taught the children to draw various images like a bear claw, and an owl.
Cooks: We were lucky to have partnered with the Diabetes worker in Slate Falls who prepared healthy and delicious meals each day. In Slate Falls, Dave Guilbeault made delicious homemade soup and sandwiches each day. Each community also generously donated funds to purchase all of the food throughout the camp.
Group Leaders: Each camp would have not been possible with out the support of local community members who played the role of group leaders at the camp. Group leaders were responsible for watching over each group of children. They carried out a variety of tasks such as taking attendance in the morning, handing out snack, escorting groups from one activity to the next, leading quick games or activities, and helping activity leaders during the rotations.
Final Show: Each Painted Turtle Camp culminates in a big final show for the community. The children get the chance to showcase all of their artwork which is hung up around the venue. They also put on a play called Brother Sun and Sister Moon. The performance involves drama, dance, costumes and lot’s of laughs. Community members are invited to attend and celebrate their children’s creativity during this final show. This past year, the support from community members was huge with over 40 people in attendance at the final shows in each community.
A Lasting Legacy: This year, boxes of supplies were collected to leave with the community. Craft supplies and costumes were left with Community Mentors and Education Staff so that the spirit of the Painted Turtle Art camp could live on.