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Creativity Camp: Arts camp has lasting impact on volunteer

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Jillian Long volunteered at the LCCA’s Arts & Sciences Summer Camp.

It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago I was attending the Arts & Sciences Summer Camp as a camper; now I’ve come back as a volunteer.
The Lancaster County Council of the Arts camp I helped at was at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church in Indian Land. It was the last of the four camps this summer. Sixty-one excited campers ages kindergarten through sixth grade came to the July 30-Aug. 3 camp.
The session activities varied from making flubber, painting animals, creating pottery and making music and superhero collages to learning about photography and the art of hip-hop karate. It was great to see the happy smiling faces  showing me what they learned in their artsy classes every day.
I watched kids work on their photography skills with instructor Tonya Geese, who set them on a mission to take my photo while volunteering. I was extremely impressed by Sensei Connie Funderburk’s hip-hop karate class, where the kids showed off their high kicks and punches with a shout. Some campers even got to help Drew Griffin, a J. Marion Sims Foundation intern, rescue a turtle trapped in a fence on the playground.
As a former camper, I’ve seen how the Lancaster County Council of the Arts camp has attracted more kids and grown to have more unique classes. I even got to see some of the same instructors who taught me. It was interesting to see how they came up with their projects.
A total of 212 campers attended this year’s camps, more than ever before, according to LCCA Executive Director Debbie Jaillette. She said the IL camp also had its largest number of campers ever – 61. 
I was one of 16 volunteers who helped out at the four camps, but I was the only one at the Indian Land camp, which kept me pretty busy. I assisted teachers, took pictures for the showcase presentation, greeted campers every morning, set up and packed up camp, prepared healthy snacks and supervised on the playground.
Being a volunteer is a way I can give back to the arts council, which puts on these camps year after year. The camps helped jump-start my creativity when I was small. I was a big fan of the mixed-media classes and enjoyed making pottery and painting.
“Volunteers are very important to the Arts & Sciences Summer Camp. They enhance our camp experience from beginning to end,” said Queserie Peay, LCCA’s programs coordinator. “Our volunteers are like family. Many who were once campers have returned to give back and lead as positive role models for the next generation.”
“Jill was our primary volunteer for the whole (IL) camp,” Jaillette said. “We can always use more volunteers. They are always most helpful.”
As the last day of camp came to a close and we said farewell to all the campers and packed up the camp supplies, Jaillette, Peay, Griffin and I went to lunch, where I learned a bit more about all of them and their efforts to put on this wonderful camp.
I will definitely be coming back to volunteer again, for my third year, at this amazing fun summer arts camp. Will you join me?

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