Creative learning is focus of E-town’s first ‘Camp ArtWorks’
Jesse Waters envisions an experience in which students come together at Elizabethtown College to learn something completely different, while keeping a focus on humanities-based education, in an atmosphere that is creative and fun.
The students, this time around, however, are high school-age.
This summer marks the first Camp ArtWorks at Elizabethtown College. Headed up by Waters, director of the College’s Bowers Writers House, he wishes to share an experience based in the arts and their interconnectedness to one another.
The five-day, four-night all-inclusive camp is designed with 14 to 17 year olds in mind, offering a creative atmosphere, while, at the same time giving a taste of what it’s like to be on a college campus.
Though the College already has music camps, Camp ArtWorks explores areas that are a bit different. Participants will delve into fiction, nonfiction and poetry writing, as well as storytelling; there will be stage action workshops; theatre design with E-town’s associate professor of theatre; and theatre movement with a professional stage choreographer and an introduction to acting with Elizabethtown College’s director of theatre and dance.
“Students will get to learn about theatre and creative writing (from) professionals in the fields, while getting an introduction to the E-town College campus and getting to know E-town College alumni in the process,” said Richard Wolf-Spencer, associate professor of theatre, who will be leading the Camp’s stagecraft and theatrical design sessions.
Though many of the regional summer theatre programs are day camps, Elizabethtown College has the ability to offer a 24-hour program, he said. “The camp is designed to afford an experience in theatre and creative writing, which is unique to the area.”
Also unique is the inclusion of alumni mentors, graduates of Elizabethtown from 2011 through 2016 who were involved in the arts.
The professionals and experts leading the workshops have decades of experience in their fields. Dan Burke, who will present the sessions in stage action basics, for instance, is a theatre’s resident fight director. He has choreographed hundreds of stage fights from NYC to south-central Pennsylvania and is certified as an actor/combatant by The Society of American Fight Directors. In addition, Kristin Pontz, who will instruct sessions in theatre movement, teaches dance at Elizabethtown College. She has worked as a choreographer, a dance instructor and is director of various regional dance troupes including nearby EPAC.
“I want them to have creative time and the opportunity to talk with a professional,” said Waters of the Camp ArtWorks participants. “I’d like them to leave here with an enlightened sense of their own possibilities.
“I want them to say ‘I didn’t realize’ or to see a connection between experiences they might already have had—the applicability of writing and theatre. But, most significantly, I want them to have fun.”
Campers will arrive on campus Monday June 27; their final day is Friday, July 1.
With the cost of other regional sleep-over camps ranging from $500 to $1,200, the Camp ArtWorks price tag set at $389, it’s a good deal, said Waters. So far, teens have signed up from Harrisburg, Elizabethtown and Lancaster, he said, noting that he hopes to draw interest from Baltimore and Philadelphia, as well.
Waters said plans are already taking shape for summer 2017, with the addition of future sessions in painting, sculpture and printmaking.