Although our summer camps have come to an end, it’s nice to reflect on the thriving creativity that took place. For nine weeks, the Academy Center of the Arts hosted a diverse range of art camps, including theater, dance, DJ, improvisation, art, and pottery. The Academy Center was constantly brimming with creative youths, with a total of 556 students enrolled in 23 camps. This is a huge leap compared to last year’s enrollment of 299 students in 16 camps.
For the first time, we collaborated with the YMCA’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program (SLLP), and it was an amazing success. One hundred and fifty students from Altavista, Amherst, Appomattox, and Lynchburg received free arts education at the Academy thanks to our scholarship fund. On entering the pottery studio for the first time, one of the YMCA campers looked around at the shelves full of clay pieces in awe and said, “This is gonna be the best day ever!” The Academy was full of this level of enthusiasm all summer.
It is essential that children have the opportunity to explore the arts. Creative instruction helps children realize their tremendous potential. The arts inspire confidence, which often transfers to other areas of study. Our campers show such a great enthusiasm for learning.
One such camper, Claire, age 14, reflects on her experience at the Academy: “I have been involved with the Academy since the third grade when I participated in a summer theater camp. The camp gave me the confidence to audition for another production. I performed in my first adult production, “Hello Dolly!” at the Academy when I was 8 years old and I haven’t stopped! Theater opened a new door to me where I can incorporate my love of dance with singing and acting. I am 14 years old and have performed in over a dozen of adult and youth productions in the community, at school, and at the Academy. The skills and confidence I have gained while being involved in productions have allowed me to grow as a person and a performer. Theatre is like one big family. It brings together people from different schools, areas of the community, and various backgrounds and talents.”
Not only do campers develop new skills but we love to see them grow and discover self-confidence. One mother shares, “We have been lucky enough to participate in three Academy camps. I have watched my little girl SHINE during the shows. It has given her a beautiful confidence she didn’t have before. She meets new friends and truly enjoys every aspect of the camp. One of our camps wouldn’t have been possible without a scholarship and for that I am grateful. That camp stretched her out of her comfort zone so much and made her stronger than ever (what an added gift!). This is her Broadway and we are thankful that a program like this happens in our community.”
On behalf of the Academy Center of the Arts, we thank everyone involved in making this summer of artistic enrichment a success. Our summer camp coordinators and instructors have helped the arts in the community thrive. We are thankful to have such a great group of determined and eager campers year after year. We also want to thank all of our scholarship fund contributors including the Walmart and Genworth Foundations and our summer program sponsors Campbell Insurance and Innovative Wireless Technologies for making this summer such a success!
Collaborations like the one with the YMCA and class scholarships are made possible thanks to our scholarship fund. If you would like more information about our scholarship fund or would like to impact local youth with a contribution, please visit our new donations page academydonations.org