By Matt de Simone
Wellspring Presbyterian Church held its annual Fine Arts Camp last week to the delight of the Botetourt community. Over 70 youth and adult volunteers welcomed 125 children from the surrounding communities to celebrate the beginning of summer with games, fun, and fellowship.
The camp has become one of the more popular events for the kids of Botetourt County. Registration for this year’s camp filled to capacity in less than 24 hours. The Fine Arts Camp isn’t limited to church members. Camp organizer Pressly Ann Laughridge explained that registration is open to the entire community including guests from out of state and even out of country. Word apparently spread fast.
When discussing the set-up of the camp, Laughridge explained, “The fun thing about this camp is the kids choose three electives from a list. There are 15 different classes with the 16th as their Bible class. We keep all the classes at a small teacher-to-student ratio.”
The classes consisted of art, Bible, braids, chess, clay, cake decorating, cooking, dance, games, guitar, music and movement, painting, textile arts, sensory, exploration, theatre, and woodworking. Each class was instructed by a local community member with respective proficiencies in the subjects offered.
“Having instructors knowledgeable of the subjects they’re teaching makes this camp unique and different,” Laughridge said. “It’s not just activities. The kids are learning something.” Due to the fact the children have so many electives to choose from, it raises the probability that each kid experiences a new class with a different set of kids from their previous elective.
The children’s art classes were run by Mary Johnson. She instructed the young artists while they created self-portraits focusing on the Bible verses they learned throughout the camp. Another artistic endeavor came in the woodworking workshop where kids made their own porcupines, geoboards, catapults, and birdhouses thanks to the hardworking volunteers who helped assemble the bare parts for each project.
A sewing/textile arts class taught by Coleen Knox put together lovely wall hangings decorated with thread and buttons and patch appliqué boards featuring the Commonwealth of Virginia. The sensory elective had children creating a putty-like substance that stretched and squished to the delight of both the youth and adults.
Don Knees coached the boys who signed up for the games elective. Some of the action featured relays (including a three-legged race), four-square, and a game of tag where kids tied strings to their ankles with balloons connected to the string’s end while the balloons awaited maximum stompage from the competitors.
Pastor Stephen Laughridge, Pressly Ann’s husband, taught the children three-chord progressions in a guitar class. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” was a featured composition. Each child used their own guitars as they strummed “C, D, and G” to their hearts content while the pastor grinned and strummed along.
Steve Knox also taught an engaging dance class. He instructed the children in a dance inspired by hip hop music which was performed on the camp’s final night.
Charlotte Pearl, an aspiring thespian in Botetourt County, ran kids through the process of play production. From blocking scenes to reading a script, the youth involved in the theatre elective performed their scenes last Friday as well.
Each class presented a task or performance for the entire camp at the end of the event.
For more information on Wellspring Presbyterian’s Fine Arts Camp, visit their website at www.wellspringpres.org for more information on this year’s event and to keep up with announcements on next year’s.