By Renée Rodgers
Hope Saunders is normally a sports enthusiast, but this summer the 10-year-old from Belleville discovered she also has a talent for visual art.
She participated in Graffiti Art, one of several day camps offered through the Serious Summer Fun Camps for Kids and Teens program at Loyalist College. The camps are held in July and August each year.
Saunders said she’d never been artistic in the past, but she wanted to try something new. She, along with several other children in her age group, spent the week of July 11 to 15 creating graffiti art using markers, paint, bingo dabbers and airbrushes.
Children learned creative lettering techniques, and applied colourful words and designs to paper, canvasses, and sketchbooks.
Saunders enjoyed creating works of art so much she began experimenting on her own. She started squeezing dye from bingo dabbers onto paper and moving it around to make a design.
“She did this all on her own, without any instruction,” said her camp instructor Nic Bambrough, pointing to a collection of about six pieces Saunders had created.
The pieces, along with the rest of the participants’ artwork, were on display during a gallery show July 15. Parents had the opportunity to attend the event and see what their children had been working on all week.
Wesley Reissner, 9, displayed a large sheet of paper on which he had written the word “Peace” in colourful, 3-D lettering. He was also eager to show his comic book creation, something he had worked on all week. He said he wanted to take part in the camp because he enjoys drawing and wants to get better.
“I’m probably going to be a comic book illustrator when I grow up,” he said.
Aside from creating art, children in the camp learned about the cultural roots of graffiti. Bambrough also made sure children were very clear on the difference between artwork and vandalism.
“It was very important to get that message across,” Bambrough said. “I had them each give me an example of what would be vandalism and an example of where graffiti would be okay, like their sketchbook. They each gave me a correct answer.”
Heather Cockerline, the camp program coordinator, said the day camps are held to engage youth in the community.
“We have the facilities,” she said. “We have amazing instructors. We want to be able to provide the youth in our community with an opportunity to have somewhere to go and to learn and to grow through the summer months and have lots of fun as well.”
The wide variety of camps in the program means there’s something for everyone. Camps range from Be Your Own Superhero, in which children create, design, and become their own superhero, to Leadership Camp for youth aged 12 and up looking to build their résumé.
“We’re really finding the kids that sign up for the camps have a genuine interest in the camps they’re signed up for,” said Cockerline. “Especially with the younger ones, parents will choose camps that fit their child’s personality.”
A full list of Serious Summer Fun Camps for Kids and Teens is available online at: www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/2011kidscamp.pdf.
The camps are run throughout the summer and some spaces are still available. Call Heather Cockerline at 613-969-1913 ext. 2467 for more information.