“Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.” – Barry Lopez
In developing awareness and understanding through storytelling and art, there exists the opportunity to communicate across the boundaries of our differences and experience the world as interconnected. Grace Art Camp, GI’s signature program, is dedicated to creating awareness through art, culture, and story in a unique process-oriented environment – a place where children might discover something about their purpose in the world through their own creative process and in community.
With story as the source of inspiration and art medium as the means, summers focus on learning about a different region of the world through its stories and art. Spring Break and Winter Peace Camps offer 3-day experiences honoring seasonal themes of peace and renewal. Art Studios are led by professional teaching artists who bring a variety of experiences and skills ranging from the visual & performance arts to fused glass, ceramics, and fibre.
Grace Art Camp, during the summer, is a one week program designed for children in Pre-K through 6th grade. Younger campers must be 4 years of age by January 1 of the year attending camp, and already be attending a full-day program. Each summer focuses on learning about a different region and landscape of the world and the people who live there, through stories, art, and culture.
Peace Camp, for children in 1st – 7th grade, embraces the longing of people of all ages and backgrounds to live with ease, emphasizing peace as a personal practice. We make space for peace through the creative process of mindfulness, painting, sewing, storytelling, and other creative outlets. Spring Break Camp celebrates the essence of springtime and the resilience of the human spirit. Designed for children in K – 6th grade.
All camps culminate in a community celebration on the last day to honor the individual, the stories, and the community cultivated over the course of camp.
The larger summer Grace Art Camp basic routine includes daily studio choices spread out over the week; the smaller 3-day Spring and Peace Camps follow a condensed format where campers stay together in color groups rotating through two studios each day, Monday-Wednesday. Youth and young adult counselors provide leadership and role modeling for campers and include songs and games. We all practice the “Four R’s” of Community: respect, responsibility, resourcefulness, and receptivity.
A GLANCE AT A DAY OF CAMP
8:45 – Campers gather in their assigned color groups for sign-in.
9:05 – Morning Assembly (our ritual for beginning each day with greetings, music, singing, stories, and daily studio presentations). Older campers choose their daily studios.
10:00 – Morning Studio, including a snack.
11:30 – Lunch/recess and Midday Assembly bringing everyone back together for songs and special guests.
1:00 pm – Afternoon Studios.
2:45 – Campers rejoin their color groups for Afternoon Assembly and the day’s sharing.
2:55 – Parents sign their children out for the day.
THE WEEK’S ROUTINE
Campers rotate with their “Color Group” through six of the art studios to get a taste for different media. Campers get to know each other and connect with their Color Counselors, learn songs, and play community-building games.
One of the hallmarks of Grace Art Camp has always been the opportunity for campers to choose what studio they would like to participate in each day and what they would like to do. Each morning, the older campers choose their “AM” and “PM” studios. Learning how to make a choice and what to do when one’s first choice is no longer available are invaluable skills to develop and an important part of the camp experience. Being creative and resourceful can happen in a variety of ways!
FRIDAY (summer only)
Every camp program culminates into a celebratory tribute to the community cultivated over the week. Families are invited and encouraged to gather with us for the Celebration Parade at 2:45. Since camp’s inception this ritual has continued to evolve as an important closure to each week of camp.
Color groups help us manage a secure daily sign-in and sign-out process as well as their art work and ensures an equitable age range of campers each week. Campers are divided into roughly grade-equivalent peer groups of 22-24 campers (less in the smaller 3 day camps), two counselors, and 1-2 CITs.
For friends assigned to different color groups, other than Orange, campers can join each other during lunch,recess, and studio times — Tuesday-Friday, campers choose and attend two daily studios whereby connecting with other campers from different color groups and ages. Color Groups remain together solely for Monday’s Studio Orientation schedule, the T-Shirt Studio, and for the Sign-In and Sign-Out process.
Your child’s color group assignment will be emailed to you the week before your registered and confirmed week of camp. The exact age-range for each color group varies from week to week as ages and grades fluctuate weekly depending upon any given week’s unique enrollment demographic.
Friends may request to be in the same color group at the time of registration and must be in the same grade by January 1 of the year they attend camp together. Only one mutual friend request per camper may be considered.
The Orange Color Group, also known as “Pod”
The younger campers (pre-K through K) are assigned to the Orange group and led by an experienced early childhood education professional. When Grace Art Camp celebrated Pacific Northwest cultures 20 years ago, the term “Pod” was used for this youngest group of campers after a pod of Orca whales, and the name has endearingly stuck ever since.
Pod has a routine designed specifically for young children and young Grace Art Camp first-timers. Their schedule and routine gives them the opportunity to partake in every art studio throughout the week without being overwhelmed. They have lunch and recess together as a single smaller group. Pod joins the other Color groups for all Camp Assemblies which include story-time, singing, sharing, and special presentations.
Grace Institute is committed to being an open and inclusive community. We accept and support diversity in age, race, physical and mental abilities, sexual orientation and gender identity, religion, and creed in all of its activities and operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and termination of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services.