A grandmother asks me, “What are the interns doing over there? The first week my grandson comes home, gets something to eat and goes to bed!” I understand. This is me, as well. The first week of artCamp keeps us on our toes, twirling between tasks and working on our edge as we do our best to stay ahead of sixty artCampers and their seemingly unlimited enthusiasm and energy. By the second week we’re conditioned, blissfully running on adrenalin and finding our stride.
The intern roster for this year’s artCamp is all-star with returning veterans and rookies, too. All are equally awesome in their commitment and contributions on behalf of our young wanna-be artists. I dearly love our artCamp interns—each and every one: Kate Beeler, Maddie Capps, Sydney Hartless, Amy Lane, Owen Platt, Emma Pound, Emily Rose, Kaylee Shultz and Katie Watson. They are awesome and amazing, inspiring and just the very best ever. My heart sings when I reflect on their generosity and their caring, compassionate dedication.
Being on the artCamp intern staff means showing up at 9:00 am or earlier. They carry in and unpack my director’s stuff in my studio-office: laptop, notebooks, new registrations, more supplies, et cetera, et cetera. My laptop gets booted up. Our artCamp hub is made ready. Our attention turns to making all of Hyde House beautiful.
Interns clean an abundance of artCamper finger prints from the glass panes in the front and back storm doors. A good drink is given to our newly-donated, mature hastas and to Judy Goff’s planter filled with lush annuals. The porch is set in order. Ferns are taken down, watered and rehung to elegantly swing on their hooks; the floor and steps are swept and mopped. Our giant, colorful, polka-dotted artCamp pinwheels are placed curbside with my David’s hand-painted artCamp sign marking the entrance to our hilltop of creative adventuring.
Final touches are added to teacher classrooms with bottles of water, teacher name badges and the day’s class rosters put in place. Interns help choose their assigned class for the day—one or two or sometimes three interns per class depending on the number of artCampers registered for each.
For artCamper check-in, a new bouquet of zinnias from my garden is arranged while name badges are lettered and spread on the kitchen table. By 10:00 am when the front door begins to swing with arrivals, interns are in full welcome mode. They greet artCampers dispensed from cars, then walk them in to stow lunches and get their badges. Interns partner as paras with first-time campers to insure their artCamp beginning is smooth and sweet.
After all artCampers are present, we gather for “porch time”. Teachers and interns contribute as we set the tone for each day with a special word or two. Included in this year’s words are magic, imagination, joy, creativity, kindness and goodwill. We talk about their meanings and how we want to practice and experience each. We learn some new art terms like abstract, balanced and multi-media.
Then comes art-making class time and lunch and play and more class time and snacks and back to the porch for 3:00 pm pickups. Interns stay late to do a thorough clean up and reset for our next day. Trash and recycles are collected. Work tables are freshly covered. Teacher supplies are delivered. Our interns always finish what they start.
All day long the interns are “on” every minute. They don’t take breaks, yet somehow they find moments to bond—sharing snippets of conversation with each other—creating friendships of appreciation, support, encouragement and the anticipation of another year as artCamp interns.
Our artCamp interns are awesome!