Local kids and tweens have spent the week getting creative at True Colors summer camp organized by the First Christian Church.
The weeklong free camp, geared for children in kindergarten through eighth grade, incorporates arts and music programs, along with daily devotions.
“We’re a diverse bunch, made up of all different colors and backgrounds,” said Children’s Ministry Director Elle Travis. “And even though we’re all different inside and out, we come together to make a rainbow.”
In the past, the camp focused mainly on music. This year, however, the First Christian Church has
included a variety of arts and activities for students to participate in.
The Frankfort School of Ballet owner, Shannon Gale, instructs children in lyrical dancing each day. Former music teacher Martha Schmidt was invited to lead the Orff ensemble, which is made up of glockenspiels, xylophones and metallophones. Campers also worked on a large-scale mural in the hallway of the church. Children’s Choir Director Maria Bartholomew conducts the camp chorus, teaching students classical and contemporary pieces.
“This is my first year at the camp,” said Schmidt, who has taught elementary music in Frankfort for 41 years. “I always wanted to help but was usually out of town. It’s been a lot of work, but a lot of fun. I love watching the children’s excitement at the music that they make.”
Seventy-five campers will conclude the program with a grand performance at 5 p.m. today, where families can watch as children dance, sing, make music and reveal their mural.
Snacks are provided by the church and daily breakfasts and lunches are donated by Frankfort Independent Schools. The program organizers say providing equal opportunity for food access is an important part of their message.
“It was important that everyone got daily meals,” said Travis. “We don’t want anyone to feel excluded, be hungry, or for any parents to not send their kids because they can’t provide them a boxed lunch.”
The students also participate in a daily “Clean Team” service project. Campers are broken into small groups and scatter throughout downtown Frankfort to collect litter and beautify the community. Several campers explained the experience has made them appreciate bettering their town.
“I thought picking up the trash was the most fun because it’s good for our country,” said 6-year-old Amos Robinson, who said he has made several new friends over the week.
Each day, the campers participate in devotions to discuss diversity, bullying, identity and love. Nine-year-old Emery Culp, a student at Hearn Elementary, said the daily devotions and readings have taught her about equality.
“This camp has taught me that everyone matters in their own way,” said Culp. “We should all treat everyone the same.”
While most students seemed anxious for Friday’s grand performance, many were sad to see the camp end.
“This camp is way better than other camps I’ve been to,” said Camryn Kelly, an 11-year-old student who will be entering into Elkhorn Middle School this fall. Kelly said the camp defied her expectations and allowed her to kindle new passions.
“The people that come to see you are going to be totally amazed,” Bartholomew told her chorus of 75 squirming children. “And it happens every year, but it takes a lot of work, so let’s go.”