This will be my 12+ summer of planning special camps and activities for my students and their friends. My foray into summer camp endeavors began when I was part time faculty at a small university. Another co-worker and I desired creative experiences for our non university students. We quickly realized this concept could become a way to expand the university's outreach into the community. Biting off way more than we could chew, we jumped in with both feet. Carla, my co-worker, and I learned a great deal--probably more than the students that first summer. However, being a glutton for punishment, I've never looked back!
Summer camp planning is the highlight of my year. I love plotting creative ideas to motivate and engage my students. I also use this time as a way to recruit new students. It's been very effective.
Past summer camps have included:
- Monster Piano Mash
- Carnival of the Animals
- Harry's Summer Music Camp (3 times)
- Road Trip (Sheryl Welles camp materials) (http://sherylwelles.blogspot.com/p/online-store_10.html)
- Music Olympics
- Wild West Days
There are many things to be considered as you begin to plan. It's important to establish your big framework first before you work on nitty gritty details. This blog post will talk about the big framework.
First: What is the big goal you hope to accomplish with this summer camp? Things to consider include:
- Theory skills--do you want to strengthen skills or introduce new skills?
- Performance opportunities--are you looking to provide ensemble experience?
- What are your students' interests?
- What are your students' strengths and weaknesses?
Quite often, my goal is to strengthen skills in my students. Recognizing that I don't see all of my students weekly through the summer, I typically do not introduce new skills at camp. My ability to follow up consistently after introducing new skills is limited by vacation schedules.
After establishing my primary goal is skill strengthening, I consider student interests. What will be the average age of my students in this camp? This summer, my average age will be 3rd grade. Every 3rd grade child I know can't stop talking about Star Wars. Therefore, we're going to have a Jedi Journey summer camp designed for fun, creativity and skill strengthening.
I've now established my big framework: skill strengthening, 3rd grade and Jedi themed. I can begin to move to nitty gritty details (of which there are many). My next few posts will include the following topics:
- scheduling (both dates and daily schedules)
- planning (timeline of material preparation, etc.)
- registration and camp costs
- Survival tips