#WATWB: An Artistic Mission

The fearless leader of Arts Camp, Miss Jody. (Photo taken by Arts Camp volunteer.)

For this month’s We are the World Blogfest, I’m sharing a link to a post I published in August of 2016.

I’ll give you a few minutes to read HERE and come back to the present.

UPDATE: Arts Camp is going stronger than ever and there have been a few changes of note since 2016.

In 2018, approximately 430 kids signed up for Arts Camp and this year there were about 535. The program keeps growing! It continues to be a free, week-long camp (half days) for children to explore art and their growing faith. However, this year another church in the downtown Appleton area, First English Lutheran, became involved to support the increasing number of children. The Mission Church has a big heart, but not a big church. What started out as a camp for 50 kids in 2013, has turned into a massive undertaking that requires additional venues, over 200 volunteers, lots of snacks and food for lunches, and months and months of planning so that 2019 would become another artistic, joyful and successful week for both the children and adults.

Miss Jody, the children’s pastor at Mission Church, is the brains behind Arts Camp. It was her vision and dedication to a Christian faith that started this annual event. I’m not sure how one plans and organizes a camp for over 500 children, but Jody does it with ease and determination, and plenty of help!

The goal of Arts Camp is to give opportunity to all children (3 years of age through 5th grade) in the Appleton/Fox Valley area to attend and this is why the camp is free. Also, the reason behind not moving it to a larger venue is that the church is focused on staying in the downtown area. It’s where the church’s heart and mission of Arts Camp is located.

While the intention of #WATWB is to shine a positive light on the world and its people, Arts Camp aims to shine a light on what one small church can do for its community, the children of that community, and the reflection of a loving faith.

Photos in the gallery are from Arts Camp 2019. Classes included hip-hop dance, food art, recycled/re-purpose, photography, story art, cake decorating, sewing, ukulele, jewelry, floral art, stomp, woodworking, and something called STEAM (science, technology, engingeering, art, math). On the evening of the final day, much of the artwork is displayed in a downtown hotel and a performance on stage follows with the children and their teachers. It’s a joy to see the little ones singing, dancing, playing an instrument or telling a story to the delight of their family. Arts Camp is truly an amazing week and I can’t wait to be a part of it in 2020.


watw-turquoise-badge-275-x241-whiteThe “We are the World” Blogfest is in its third year of a heartfelt journey. This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts, Susan Scott, Peter Nena, Shilpa Garg, Mary J. Giese and Damyanti Biswas welcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time. You are always welcome!

Please SIGN UP for WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST in the linky list that opens up in a new window:

Click HERE to be part of the Light.

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30 responses to #WATWB: An Artistic Mission

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It’s so much fun to be around these kids and see their smiles of accomplishment at the end of the week. It’s even more fun to be in the midst of it all week. Tiring, but fun.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome Susan. Yes, lots of “wows” for Miss Jody and all of the volunteers. They do an amazing job!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I was floored by some of the amazing photography and, in general, the artistic abilities of the kids. It’s a wonderful week for them to feed their creative side.

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I remember the original post, Mary. I thought it was a great idea then, it’d an amazing success now. I love the pictures. Over 500 kids! That’s truly amazing and so good that they manage to keep it in the city – that benefits everyone! You must be pretty fast with the PBJ process 😏

    I love the artwork they created. It covers such a wide range of talent.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      The sheer number of kids this year made me shudder, but it’s a true testament to how well Miss Jody and her volunteers run the Camp, the devotion of everyone involved and the help given from faith that He will provide. I wonder…how many kids next year?

  2. Pradeep says:

    Such activities are great opportunities for children to put to use their creative faculties. Great work. Thanks for sharing this. #WATWB
    — Pradeep | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

  3. hilarymb says:

    Hi Mary – what an amazing pastor Miss Jody is … she is really inspiring the kids in her area .. it’s wonderful – so many children, so many activities – obviously lots of volunteers – congratulations to you … and so much positivity comes out of projects like these. Loved seeing all the photos and hearing the news a year later … I’m not surprised you’re happy to spotlight their initiative once again – cheers Hilary

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Hilary, thank you so much for your lovely comment. This is such a positive time for these kids and the community. I think all of the volunteers bask in the afterglow of that week and the kids’ smiles. It’s much fun for all!

  4. JoAnna says:

    What a wonderful event! It must take a lot preparation and teamwork. So many possibilities offer something for everyone! I’m partial to those recycled plastic butterflies with the sticks for a base. I’d love to be part of something like this!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      This takes more prep and planning than I’m even aware of. There’s a lot to think about and work to do to make this happen. I love the recycle/repurpose too…teaching kids that they can make art from the things they usually throw in the trash.

  5. Such a great initiative! The arts are so incredibly important, especially to child development. Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of our #WATWB family! 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I was excited about sharing this annual event with the WATWB community. It’s such an important one for the kids and community.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome, Damyanti! I love spreading the light of WATWB, especially when it shines bright in my own backyard.

  6. Peter Nena says:

    The advantages of being involved in some form of art cannot be underrated. Art is good for both social and personal development. Open-mindedness, benevolence, understanding are just some of the qualities bestowed by involvement in arts. I like STEAM. There seems to be a global focus on STEM but STEAM is much, much better. I love the idea of Arts Camp, and I love the photos. Amazing things. Thank you, Mary. Thanks for keeping #WATWB going.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      All of what you’ve said about art is so true, Peter. I believe creativity in the arts can lead children and adults to be more understanding and open-minded about the world around them. Thanks for coming around to read about this wonderful project and I hope #WATWB keeps going for years to come.

  7. Kalpana says:

    Just look at those fabulous photos! What an undertaking!! I’m always pleasantly surprised by how much one can do if one sets ones heart to it. Kudos to all of you.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thank you so much Kalpana. It’s a huge undertaking and a testament to all involved (myself aside) that it runs so smoothly.

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