Creative Arts Camp Delivers Week of Inspiration and Fun
Riverside’s summer season kicked off June 5 with a unique Creative Arts Camp, unlike any the Club has offered before. Joe Sutphin, the illustrator of such renowned books as The Wingfeather Saga and Little Pilgrim’s Progress, headlined the week, which culminated with a showcase of the performances and art the children perfected during the camp.
Nearly 70 kids, ages 8-14, took workshops in a variety of offerings such as cartooning, stop-motion video, drumming, painting, stage combat, voice-over techniques, dance and singing.
On Tuesday, special guest Sutphin taught classes in illustration and drawing animals, which is his specialty, and gave a presentation on his life as an artist. He spoke of a teacher who understood his passion for drawing as a creative gift that needed to be nurtured and not treated as a distraction. This encouragement, along with that of his parents, allowed Sutphin the room to explore his talent.
Riverside journeyman and artist Gabe Chou, profiled in issue two of The Riversider, served as a counselor at the camp. His parents were instrumental in bringing Sutphin in for the workshops and inspirational talk.
“When Mr. Sutphin gave a live demonstration of his drawing, I got to see the kids transformed by the magic of art at its best and truest purpose. His talk centered around courage (not fearlessness) and he explained the concept in pictures. The form of imagery is one we all understand…the kids audibly reacted to every stroke of Mr. Sutphin’s marker, and took in all his wisdom of what makes a true hero,” Gabe said.
He noted that the campers were “all over it” when it was their turn to draw.
“They listened, watched, and understood the first half, and then they discussed, drew, and gave back in their own ways in the second. Mr. Sutphin didn’t come just to give a lecture, but with his art, he engaged them in a discussion that they readily entered with their own art,” Gabe said.
Vision Camp brought together the families of Riverside employees, board members, and lead volunteers for a few fun-filled days of team building and vision casting at La Salle Manor in Plano.
“This was the perfect opportunity for our family to connect with other Riverside families to think and dream about what the future holds for our kids, our families, and our community. Many laughs and life-long memories for all,” said Kara Comer, who among many other roles, serves as an integral part of Riverside’s decor team.
Fellow decor team member Kristi Currier, who also will help with costuming on the upcoming production of I am Jimmy Wremble, loved the balance of Faith, Family, and Friendship at Vision Camp.
“The consistent message that we received as a family, was that every one of us was created uniquely and for a purpose. Beautiful, right?! I feel so incredibly blessed to have had this experience, not only for myself, but to have had this experience with my boys was absolutely priceless!,” Kristi said.
And Liz Sepich, who most recently helped Riverside as the lead organizer for Riverland at Folk Fest, said being at the beautiful property was “glorious.”
“We all had our own dorm rooms, so (the kids) got up when they wanted, did the organized activities/meals, but then freely roamed and played how they wanted as well. It was a time for prayer, reflection, camaraderie, team-building, and oh SO much laughter…you know our kids had fun from the color of their feet! The time together was something we truly will never forget,” Liz said.
Every Girl is a Little Princess
Riverside’s Summer Camp season ended with the ladies. Led by the immeasurably talented Jocelyn Jansen, lead costumer for Riverside theatre, and a team of talented Journey-women, this year’s girls’ camp was based on the book A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
“Literature can be instrumental in forming young girls as they develop…when I read A Little Princess to our daughter Monica, and encountered the wonderful virtues of Sarah Crewe, I had so many ideas for a summer camp! Using both the book and the idea that each girl is an heiress to the Kingdom of God made for an excellent camp,” Jocelyn said.
Jocelyn, who has led summer camps since 2020, said having her older daughters and other Riverside graduates as counselors is mutually beneficial for them and the younger girls.
“All girls, young and old, have amazing talents. When we can share in these gifts and encourage others to discover these gifts through projects and activities, it makes for an excellent program,” Jocelyn said.