Expressive Arts Therapy Camps
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The Expressive Arts Therapy Camp was created to immerse children in the worlds of nature, art, and story telling. The camp beautifully blends freedom with structure, to create a safe place for children to explore and express themselves. This camp was co-created by Ashley Taylor and Vanessa Kellner, as a gift to children. The happiness, creativity, and connectedness that we have seen flow from the children who attend these camps never cease to amaze us.
This camp is currently offered each summer. Look for dates for Summer 2022 early in the 2022 new year.
Using Expressive Arts in Nature
Children will have the gift of being immersed in nature as they experience and explore the art of folktale and narrative expression. Kids will learn how to use a plot chart to analyze prevalent themes and motifs in the story and will utilize both individual reflection time and group discussion to relate these themes to their lives and experiences. Through engagement with art and movement, children will be able to integrate these ideas, helping them understand and connect with their own thoughts, feelings, and needs… learning to let their inner wisdom be their guide. Participants will gain increased self-knowledge and awareness by identifying ways in which they connect with the characters, their experiences in the story, and with story themes overall. They will build the capacity for empathy through character analysis and discussion of various character strengths, flaws, and conflicts. In the end, children will experience and embody the transformative aspects of the story and the feeling of resolution, as they have the opportunity to physically overcome obstacles and to express what they have learned about themselves artistically through the creation of a self-portrait.
Helping Kids Cultivate Self-Awareness
Now, more than ever, kids need this time and space to be in nature, to get to know themselves and to learn how to relate authentically and meaningfully with others. Many kids are experiencing feelings of powerlessness and defeat coming off of this last year and a half. Their external security and stability have been shaken and they have not yet developed the internal strength and recourses to compensate for this.
The Ability to Self-Regulate
Through this individual and group experience, they will develop an internal tether that allows them to feel more secure, regardless of the ever-changing external world. This is the heart of resilience. As an added bonus, they will have the opportunity to integrate this inner work socially, as they relate to and work with others in meaningful and productive ways. They will learn to respect each other, support each other, and most importantly… to bring their authentic self to the table as they develop these relationships with others.
Social Skills through Story, Art, and the Great Outdoors
A typical day at camp will start with creation of their own individual “cozy spots”, their space for self-reflection and self-regulation throughout their camp experience. They will read, discuss, and analyze a folktale during the first half of the day. The rest of the day will be spent integrating the themes and symbols of the story through art and movement.
The entire camp experience will be outdoors, on a breathtaking property in West River, MD. Kids will have access to a shallow stream, open grassy areas, hills, and trails. Elements of nature will be all around, including as part of the artwork and obstacles that participants engage in. This experience in nature alone is so healing, as being outdoors:
Supports mindfulness, as we are immersed in the sensory experience of nature and how we feel this in our body
Builds confidence, as we have the ability to explore and master our external environment.
Encourages creativity, as nature provides so many resources and the freedom to use these resources in countless ways.
These are just a few of the many reasons that this outdoor environment is so beneficial. Children will have the gift of being IN nature all day, each day… nurturing body, mind, and soul.
Ashley and I would love to have your child be a part of this fun and transformative journey with us. You can contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t wait! Space is limited to ensure the quality and integrity of this experience for your child.