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Creating the Create and Care Camp

by Ashleigh Altemann

When pastor first approached me about some summer kid’s programming at St. John, the idea was for two weeks of camp - one focused on the garden, one focused on art. That idea was deemed perhaps a bit too ambitious to start. Instead we merged the two and the Create and Care Camp was born. While I will still have two weeks of camp as a possible ambition to strive for, I think the blended idea has produced a program that builds strength on connecting the creative side with the scientific and spiritual.

Unlike most VBS programs, the Create and Cate Camp does not use pre-packaged curriculum. I did plenty of searching, but there were very few resources even remotely related to the concept we were working towards. That’s not to say I came up with it all myself. I have turned to a number a resources to put together the camp we have run at St. John the past two years. These resources have included the book, Making Things, a delightful and inspiring book that sparks ideas on how to make arts and crafts with waste materials and things you might have laying around the house; the website which has fantastic write ups for garden based activities complete with age recommendations and time requirements; and activities I experienced myself, like screen printing shirts which my 4th grade class did as part of our Swamp Rats ecology program.

Even before 2023’s Create and Care Camp was over, I was starting to plan our Create and Care Camp program for 2024. That planning is about to ramp up into full gear as I hope to change our curriculum this year and explore art, creation, and spirituality in different ways.

Evan and I are currently on vacation. Most of it has been spent in Asheville, North Carolina, with a stop in Savannah, Georgia squeezed in the middle. There are many reasons why I love traveling and I think it is important that people are able to have these sorts of experiences. As we explored the weaving exhibit at the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, and the materials exhibit at the Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center, ideas started percolating for the 2024 Create and Care Camp at St. John. A stop at the Battery Park Book Exchange, a used book store and champagne bar (phenomenal and dangerous business model) added to the inspiration.

We have one more day here, then we’ll embark on the long drive back to Pontiac. It’s always a little sad for a vacation to end, but I’m quite excited to get back and build out some great experiences for the kids at the Create and Care Camp, 2024.

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