This past summer I was offered a position as art director at a sports camp through the club gym Sportime. Up until now I had been content with teaching swim lessons through my local town pool. But this summer I wanted something different. I wanted to get more experience that would help me with my future career in the arts. I decided to accept the offer and become the art teacher at the camp. The camp sounded like so much fun that I wish I was a kid attending it. There was a different theme every day, special events, and so many activities for the kids. It was my job to come up with an art activity every day during the art period of 35 minutes for 8 groups ranging from preschool children to middle schoolers.
It was more work than I expected and I learned more than I ever thought I would. I was under a tent all day without running water or outlets. Instead of a sink I had a water bucket constantly being refilled. However, the art director from last year, Melinda, would help on some days. She was probably the best art teacher that ever lived. I was also fortunate to have some very helpful counselors who came along with every group. The days were crazy. The schedule of groups changed constantly; some days brought in over 350 campers, attendance changed everyday, the kids went wild, and don’t even get me started on what rain days were like.
In the craziness of a camp day I remembered to just breathe. When the wind would blow everything off of the tables and drying racks so the floor was covered in materials. Breathe. When a kid decides to paint his face instead of the paper. Breathe. When a meltdown occurs because a girl doesn’t like her art or won’t have time to finish. Breathe. When the period is almost over and there is tissue paper on the floor, paint spilled on the tables, and projects half done. Breathe. When the art materials couldn’t survive 35 minutes with the campers. Breathe.
My last day of camp was the camp slide show and art show. I spent the whole day along with some counselors and the art director from last year. I was lucky enough to have last year’s art director to help me throughout the summer. I thought she was wonder woman in disguise with all she was able to do. I learned so much from her and how she ran art classes.
By the last day of camp, the walls were covered in artwork so there wasn’t a blank space. The mural on the back fence, which had been painted by the older groups throughout the summer, was completed and looked great. It was on that last day that I realized that my summer was well spent despite the craziness and stress. I spent my days surrounded by kids and art materials all day long. Even though I worked at a sports camp where art was understandably the last thing on the agenda, there were kids that didn’t relate to sports but loved art. I got to be called “Miss Alyssa” by little kids throughout the week. It was my job to be creative every day. I couldn’t imagine a job that I would love more. I can’t wait to be Miss Alyssa again this summer.