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MAY. 4, 2015

Extreme Makeover Arts and Crafts Edition: The Making of a Makerspace

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Krista White, Camp Program Manager

This year I have been inspired by several people who are helping to create the Makerspace movement. It all started when Sara Nichols, a camper parent, sent us a TED Talk by Gever Tulley called Life lessons through tinkering and 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do.  With the deeper goal of building the self-realization that you can figure things out by fooling around, children at Tulley’s camp the Tinkering School are trusted with real tools and materials and then trusted not to hurt themselves or others while making things.  I then attended Laura Kriegel and Jack Schott’s session on Makerspaces at the American Camp Association National conference where they asked “What if arts and crafts at camp could unlock for kids that they can do make or be anything they want with their lives?”  Kriegel described a make space as a place where kids are free to engage in meaningful, self-chosen work to develop and practice skills that lead to competence.  I was inspired and thought, “We need one of these at Eagle’s Nest!” Thus the extreme makeover began.

At the end of summer any remaining supplies get straightened up and placed into the Arts and Crafts supply closet which is then closed until spring when I return to restock our arts supplies.

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This spring when I opened the closet it seemed that a family of squirrels had turned our closet into a happening hotel.

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Luckily for us, I had planned for a renovation.  I purchased my usual stockpile of replenishing supplies as well as a variety of clear containers with lids.The first step was to clear everything out and then wash it down. I was thankful to have some help on clean out day from a Recreation Management student, Summer Allen.

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Ta da! For the next step I had some help from one of our favorite Arts and Craft instructors, Cissy Byrd, as we set to work recycling and trashing spent supplies.

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We organized materials and crafts into like piles and placed them into labeled containers.

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Many hours later our supply closet makeover was complete.  But what about the makerspace you ask?

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I placed all of our resource books on shelves outside of the “counselors only” closet so that campers can easily reach them and be inspired.  The containers below were filled with supplies that campers can access and easily use for their creations. I also collected a few baskets of interesting items from around camp including camera parts, tent poles, springs, an incredible amount of beaded necklaces, and other fun things.

My hope is that this makerspace, along with the rest of our camp programing, will inspire our campers to do make or be whatever they want.

Krista White, Camp Program Manager