5 things I learned at AWE’s summer camp

By Raida Farzat, youth intern at Art Windsor-Essex

Summer campers smile for the camera while others continue creating paintings using leaves.

This summer I had the pleasure of assisting at AWE’s summer art camp for children aged 7–12. Each week, we had a new group of campers and with each group, I found myself learning new things thanks to the little campers. Here are five valuable things I picked up from them.

1) Never back down from a challenge

Three campers focus as they create art using natural materials.

The campers spent a week at camp trying countless different art activities. One thing I found inspiring was their eagerness to try anything and everything, no matter how challenging it seemed. I don’t remember a single instance of a camper saying “I can’t do this!” Instead, they approached all activities with open minds and enthusiastic hands. That’s definitely a mindset I want to adopt for myself.

2) There’s more than one type of art

Campers listen intently to AWE staff member Sophie as she walks them through an activity using ink.

There are times when I feel like there is one type of art that I do, and that if I do anything else, I’m not really making art. However, the little campers made me remember that there are infinite ways to create art and that we don’t always have to stick to one. In fact, I was so inspired by them that I decided to create a little diorama just like the miniature buildings the campers made.

3) You can find friends everywhere

Campers sit in a circle outside of the art gallery creating artwork on paper.

“Do you guys know each other from outside of camp?” is a question I found myself asking groups of particularly close campers. The answer was almost always “no, we met during camp,” which was amazing considering camp was only a week long! As I watched the campers form connections and bonds, I realized that it is possible to find friends anywhere no matter how much time is spent together.

4) There’s always time to honour our imaginations

Campers use leaves as paintbrushes to create a giant painted collage!

At camp, the little ones let their creativity and imaginations run wild. I kept wishing I was their age so I could have fun with my imagination again, but then I realized that I can honour my imagination like them. We’re often so busy with life and routines that creativity and imagination seem like trivial second thoughts, but taking the time to honour them is valuable, even as an adult.

5) You can use anything to create art

Campers sit around an outdoor picnic table and create works of art using yarn.

When we think of art, oftentimes there are very specific, conventional art materials that come to mind. At camp, however, the little campers made art out of anything and everything. From using branches and grass to create paintbrushes to utilizing egg cartons in their miniature buildings, the campers reminded me that art can be made with anything!

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Art Windsor-Essex

Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) is a non-profit public art gallery that uses the power of art to open hearts and minds to new ideas. Change happens here.