Summer camps spur imagination, learning
by Marie Nesmith
Jul 13, 2012 | 1590 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Through the Georgia Museums Inc.'s summer camps, more than 170 youth are seizing the opportunity to broaden their creativity and knowledge. For 8-year-old Ali Dyke, making a mask and a peacock drawing were the highlights of the Art Explorers camp, presented by the Booth Art Academy in June.

"I learned that peacock feathers [look like they] have a little hoof print in it," she said. "... [At camp] we drew [a peacock] and then we painted it and we used peacock feathers. ... [I wanted to attend the camp] because I love art, when you get [the opportunity] to paint, and I like to be creative."

Already filled to capacity, the Booth Art Academy offerings -- held at the TRC building in Cartersville -- have featured seven different camps this summer ranging from pottery to drawing.

"When you start the class, you're giving them instructions about what they're going to do and sometimes you can see that glazed look in their eyes," said Kent Mullinax, manager of the Booth Art Academy. "But then when you get it down in front of them and they start doing it and all of a sudden that light bulb goes off and you can see that they get it, that's the fun part of it. And once they get it, they stay excited about doing it and finishing the project. I know everybody uses that [phrase] a lot, but the light-bulb moment is really cool for us."

At the Bartow History Museum, its summer camp program is in full swing, with its next, and final, offering slated for July 24 to 27. With openings still available, the Time Travelers camp is geared for ages 7 to 11 and costs $90 for BHM members and $100 for nonmembers.

"This is the one camp that we do that utilizes almost every exhibit in the Bartow History Museum," said Charity Chastain, BHM's manager of programs. "We start with Cherokee life. We talk about the Cherokee being here in the 1800s, where do they come from, what did they live like, what do they eat, what happened to them -- just kind of their daily life, their games, their toys, every aspect.

"Then we move into pioneers because that carries over a little bit with the Cherokee as well. And we compare and contrast the two because they were very similar. They were also very different but they were very similar. Then we move into the Civil War and from there our next main feature is World War II and then we end with the '50s and '60s. And all of those are [Georgia Performance Standards] from kindergarten to the fifth grade. [For example], in kindergarten they have to know about pioneer life. In second and fourth grade, they have to know about the Cherokee."

While every day will include various talking points, Chastain said it is important to combine fun with learning at the camp.

"We kick off each day with a little discussion about what we're learning about that day, try to do a little bit of a lecture-style setting," Chastain said. "It doesn't usually last more than about 20 minutes because we want to get more into the fun part. Then like with the Cherokee, for instance, we'll talk about how they lived, their toys and games and things like that. And then the kids are going to go straight into making crafts that the Cherokee would have made whether it's a toy or making a game and all those things, of course, they get to keep.

"And the same thing [applies] with pioneer and then into World War II. When we talk about some more serious things in World War II, they do a lot of hands-on rationing activities, where they're doing math. And they're learning about when you went to the grocery store with your ration book, what was life like and they actually get a photo copy of a ration book that belongs to someone in Bartow County. So we try to utilize the supplies we have here in our archives and our resources as well."

To enroll children in the Time Travelers camp, adults need to contact the BHM -- 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville, under the bridge -- at 770-382-3818, ext. 6288. For more information, visit Mullinax, who can be reached at 770-387-1553, also welcomes the public's input concerning ideas for future Bartow Art Academy camps.