“To walk around the pavilion and see what are campers have done is amazing,” said Jan Lippman, building supervisor for overnight camp.
Lippman, who has been involved with the camp for five years, said fine arts camp is a big deal for campers, and the final day of camp is when they can show off what they have done during the week-long overnight session.
Thirty-five disabled adults, with disabilities ranging from down syndrome to autism, participated in the camp this year. Regardless of their disability, campers were all active participants in both creating artwork and contributing to the final performance.
Lippman said the theme for their artwork this year was recycled art. She said they made things out of water bottles, food, silverware, records, old artwork and more.
“It gives these individuals such a chance to be creative,” Lippman said about the projects. “We give them a lot of freedom.”
It is obvious by the way the campers showed their parents the artwork they created that they enjoyed their time at camp.
“I liked the whole thing,” Aaron Marshall, a camper, said about camp. “Everything was amazing.”
Marshall said he wanted to attend art camp because it is fun, and his favorite part of camp was ribbon dancing, which he practiced for the final performance. He said he has improved on his skills since he began coming to camp and even takes some of the things he learned at camp home to try.
Tracy Grimes, another camper, said he also liked everything about camp, from swimming to creating new art out of a thrift store paining. He said he was sad, but also happy about the last day of camp.
“I really don’t want to leave,” Grimes said. “I like when people see all the work I did.”
When it was time for the final performance, themed around Swan Lake, the famous ballet, campers were organized into their groups, took their places and prepared for their moment in front of the audience.
The performance included a musical performance similar to Stomp, a choir segment, a ballet and an elaborate ribbon dance.
“It went fantastic,” Stephon Bady, program supervisor, said after the performance. “I am so glad after practicing all week it actually came together.”
Bady said even though they work with campers all over the spectrum when it comes to disabilities, they found ways to make sure everyone could participate in the performance, which they practiced all week during camp.
Fine Arts Festival Camp is just one of Stepping Stones’ summer camp options. Other camps are available during the summer for both adults and children. Stepping Stones also has a variety of programs available all year for people with disabilities.
More information can be found at www.steppingstonescenter.org.