Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Painted Turtle in 7 First Nation Communities!

The Painted Turtle Arts Camp is a program that is specifically designed for First Nations children and youth of Northern Ontario. 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 educating artists, teachers, summer staff and community leaders on ways to integrate the arts through performance celebrations and art based experiences for summer camp
  •  To offer opportunity for youth to be leaders in an arts based environment and enhance   their knowledge and interest in arts based activities

Since 2012, nineteen PTAC(s) have been implemented in seventeen Northern communities. Hundreds upon hundreds of First Nations children have had the opportunity to create and ignite their imaginations through the expressive joy of song, dance, theatre and visual arts. 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. It has been an absolute honour and privilege, for the third season consecutively, to have collaborated with Right to Play with the implementation of the summer arts based program-- Painted Turtle Arts Camps (PTAC) throughout Northern Ontario. 

This year was a very special one at that, for the evolution of the PTAC grew considerably and developed into a sustainable and capacity building venture by training leaders to independently and successfully run their own camps for their communities. The year, the PTAC specialized arts activities, usually designed for a week’s long program, were developed and expanded into a five to six weeks curriculum. By teaming up with Right to Play and piggy backing with their Summer Sun Training Session, that was held in Thunder Bay in early June, PTAC had the opportunity to make this new training model possible. 

With 8 community mentors present to train specifically with the Painted Turtle Arts Camp methods, this new model, gave community leaders basic instruction in facilitating the arts-- dance, visual arts, music, drama. The training also provided a methodology on how to manage their PTAC throughout the summer months. Each Community Mentor present also received an art kit that would last throughout the summer and included art supplies for 30 - 80 children, 2 training manuals (one for managing a camp, and one with art based activities) and a USB stick with lots of high energy fun music and two videos of our selected choreographed dances. 

Next year our Painted Turtle vision is a grande one at that! The big dream is to have 15 Northern communities run their very own Painted Turtle camps for the summer of 2015. Our vision for the training session for next year, is to create a more detailed manual and training methodology that will instill enriched arts based activities for all the facilitators involved with PTAC.


 Many thanks go out to Jules Porter who has consistently supported the PTAC’s programming for the Northern communities of Ontario and who helped us develop this new sustainable model. Gratitude would not be complete without acknowledging Nicky Potter’s guiding force. Her dedicated efforts, by supporting, guiding and making sure that all our ducks were in a row for this year’s tour, made the success of this program attainable. Gratitude abound and a huge thank you to all the Community Mentors, Community Officers, Painted Turtle Staff and the hundreds of children who created art with their little hands, sang with gusto and danced to their hearts delight! Our program would not be possible without the committed efforts of Bailey Davis who has tirelessly given up her summers for the betterment of this program and with Rose Lipton and Chris McLeod’s encouragement and assistance with all the details needed to pull off such an endeavour. 

To the Communities of: Mattagami, Moose Cree, Wabauskang, Neskataga, Shkoday, Indian Friendship Centre, Webequie, Aroland– Meegwetch for inviting us to work with your children and for graciously hosting  and supporting the camps! To the Community Mentors: Andrea Naveau, Carmen Cheechoo, Jason Petiquan, Aaron Yellowhead, Candace Hardy, Marriah Belcher, Eric Shewaybick and Chad Kashkish  – Meegwetch! Your initiative in taking on the Painted Turtle all on your own and your dedication in providing your communities’s children with effective programming this summer demonstrated true leadership, courage and a willingness to provide great opportunities for  your community!
And a big thank you goes out to Bailey Davis for being jumping on little bouncy planes and traveling with me throughout Ontario, and being an amazing facilitator and project manager!


 8 Community Mentors, from 8 Northern communities, were trained with a Painted Turtle arts based curriculum and methodology

15 Communities received art kits

 Number of children in communities that ran Painted Turtle Arts Camp for 4-6 weeks: 

Mattagami- 20 children
Moose Cree- 80 children
Wabauskang - 10 children
Neskataga - 25 children
Shkoday and Indian Friendship Centre- - 25
Webequie- 20 children
Aroland - 30 children
Hours of art-based activities for each child during the summer of 2014 :  80 -100 hours

1 comment:

ricardokeith said...

Well doing art is an interesting work, all of the kid’s pictures are lovely. I am also taking training in Aboriginal Art from an experienced artist. He is giving me so wonderful tips. I am really liking doing art work. Any tips you want to share with me about art? I will love to use the tips.