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Summer camps boost student creativity

Summer camps boost student creativity

Students from last year’s Writing Camp don their Great Valley Writing Camp T-shirts and share their love of writing.


POSTED May 1, 2014 5:42 p.m.

When Mackenzie Alameda began teaching art classes to children at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock, she witnessed an opportunity to not only teach students but to help them develop their own artistic vision.

“I noticed that the kids did not really plan for themselves and they depended more on me to tell them what to do, but I want them to be able to think outside the box and use critical thinking skills,” said Alameda.

This summer Alameda is one a several teachers that will be providing students a creative outlet through the arts in her two courses titled Superhero Stories and 3-D Fun. The 3D course will focus on creations with clay wiring and the likes of paper maché, while the Superhero Stories is a comic strip and imagery course. More than just focusing on the artistic portion of the course, Alameda also wants students to find their own artistic method by inventing a character and writing a story to accompany the character that they invented.

“The goal is for them to develop their own artistic style. I want to help them recognize the importance of the arts and their own passions,” said Alameda.

This mission is the same one that guides the Great Valley Writing Project’s Young Writers’ Summer Workshop. For two weeks, students can hone the craft of writing while also finding their own voice as writers, something useful for students inside and outside of the classroom.

 “The main goal is to help students learn to tap into their creativity and help them grow as writers and even love writing,” said Suzanne Houlden, office coordinator for the summer camp.

With an emphasis on creative writing, the summer writing camp affords students the opportunity to practice techniques, use innovation to create their own stories and socialize with other students. While the half day program is primarily set in the classroom, students are encouraged to find inspiration elsewhere by discovering the natural setting of the California State University, Stanislaus campus where the camp is held to spark inspiration.

“Writing is an important skill throughout life and helping them learn to harness their creativity is going to help them articulate themselves,” said Houlden.  “They may discover that they can write stories for a living, become a journalist or if nothing else it will help them write their papers in school by using the techniques and skills they are learning at camp.”

Alameda’s art courses at the Carnegie Arts Center are geared towards nine to 13 year olds. The 3-D fun course will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. from July 14 to July 18 and the Superhero Stories course will take place at the same time from July 21 to July 25. All the camps are $150 per week; that includes all supplies and a T-shirt. Carnegie members get a 10 percent discount on all classes, and some scholarship funds are available. Call the Carnegie at 632-5761.

The Summer 2014 Young Writers Workshop will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  June 16 to June 27 at CSUS, 1 University Circle. Those who enroll before May 15 will receive a $25 dollar discount off of the $250 camp price. An additional $25 discount is available for those who enroll more than one child from the same household. For enrollment, contact Suzanne Houlden at 667-3490.

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