For the past several years, OLSH has offered a variety of camps for children in grades K-8 each summer, ranging from theatre to sports to STEM. A new camp this year welcomed the school’s youngest campers to date, aged 5-8 to a weeklong program that combined theology lessons with art, celebrating God’s creations by creating!
Mallory Hurley, an OLSH alumnus and former art teacher who owns Sacred Art + Wellness and serves as a SoulCore instructor, approached Kate Kelly, OLSH theology teacher, about offering a summer camp for young children that combined art and faith. “At first I wasn’t sure about the age range, since I didn’t have much experience, but then thought it might be really fun!” commented Kate, who teaches theology to 9th and 10th graders at OLSH and emcees the region’s annual Catholic Women’s Fellowship Conference. “We came up with the name Creator Camp because of its play on the word Creator. The whole week was focused on God as our Creator and the children as mini creators through art. Our phrase for the week was ‘God created ________ and it was GOOD!’ We would fill in the blank with whatever aspect of God’s creation we were discussing that day and the kids would always shout the ‘good’,” Kate explained.
Each day of the camp featured time to sketch in a journal, pray at various statues and other religious spots on campus, work on two larger art projects, and enjoy story time, snacks, and active games. Each session ended with a visit to the OLSH Chapel, where the children were invited to talk with Jesus. Children molded with clay and painted their creations, tie dyed t-shirts, created shadow puppets, baked and decorated cookies, planted seeds, and painted and drew on canvas and in sketchbooks. “Creator Camp was a blessing for our family. Our son was engaged in both outdoor explorations of God’s creation and indoor activities that fostered his own creativity,” shared parent Elena Donoso Brown, whose son, Evan, attended the camp. “His favorite part, though, was story and snack time. He had a blast!” Other parents agreed with Elena's evaluation, noting the joy their children experienced throughout the week.
Kate found the experience positive for herself, as well, noting “For me, the most rewarding part of the camp was how excited these kids were about everything, especially Jesus. Everything becomes so common place and mundane for us, but for them, it was all amazing. Every day at the end of the day we would bring them right up to the tabernacle to talk to Jesus and they took it so seriously. They would say things like, ‘Jesus, you’re the best Jesus there ever was’ or ‘Jesus, I’m so glad you’re my God, you’re awesome!’ As cute as it was, it was just so honest and heartfelt. They meant it. I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t I talk to Jesus like that more often?’ Just be thankful and tell Him how much I love Him.” The experience Kate and Mallory had this summer will certainly translate as they work with individuals of all ages, in the classroom at OLSH, at SoulCore prayer sessions, and at the Catholic Women’s Fellowship Conference this fall.