Campers of all ages from across the region danced and flowed in motion last Friday.
It was part of the grand finale of the Warren County Fine Arts summer camp held at Wright City East Elementary the week of July 15-19.
And it brought an irreversible smile to Flavia Everman’s face.
“I love the arts,” said Everman, who has been directing the program since 2006. “I’m involved in all of the arts, so for me to help the kids, especially out in rural areas, just to experience the arts is my passion.”
Everman has been volunteering her time at the camp since 2002. While she doesn’t recall the exact year it began, she believes the camp spans at least three decades.
For some, the camp was so impactful during their youth that it prompted them to come back and serve. This was the case for Audrey Shaw, who volunteered her time for the second year. Now going into her sophomore year of high school, Shaw enjoyed being a camper on multiple occasions and wanted to ensure other youth had the same opportunities.
“I like coming back to help, because it’s really fun,” said Shaw. “It just happened to work out that I could help the last couple years, and I’ve enjoyed it every time. The kids are really sweet, and I love seeing them smile.”
This year’s camp drew 60 youth from three counties, who gathered each day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to celebrate their creativity through expression. There are four hours of instruction, with individual hours devoted to dance, drama, music and art.
“We encouraged the kids to use their imagination,” said Everman. “Your artwork is an expression of you. We want the kids to continue being themselves.”
Friday’s performances included 15 selections of activities such as drama and dance.
Everman said she was thrilled to be able to offer the camp for only $50 per youth thanks to sponsorship by the Missouri Arts Council and Arts and Education Council.
“We feel like art should belong to everybody and not just those who can afford it,” said Everman.
For those interested in participating in the future, the camp is typically held the third week of July each year.