Science and Adventure at Catalina Sea Camp is about more than just education – it’s about experience, interaction, and challenges. Campers that come to Catalina Sea Camp get awesome opportunities to experience more than conventional courses in science when they come to Toyon Bay, as Jeff Chace and his team work day in and day out to provide opportunities for campers to go beyond the textbook to experiencing science first hand at our Plankton, Algae, and Fish Labs as well as in our Marine Mammal Hall and through experiences traveling across the island in Catalina Explore and Adventure classes.
Campers in our one-week programs have the opportunity to experience our ocean firsthand by collecting plankton samples to view under the microscope and feeling invertebrates and sharks in our touch tanks. In the three-week programs campers explore Catalina to study endemic species and experience the beauty of Sea Camp’s surroundings.
Through opportunities to adventure, campers participate in activities ranging from archery and the giant swing to rock climbing and stand-up paddle boarding. Activities are dictated by challenge by choice, where campers push themselves to their own personal limits in a safe environment. Regardless of what campers are doing on any given day, Science and Adventure staff make it their mission to engage campers, through sharing the incredible beauty of the nature surrounding Toyon and by encouraging campers to push themselves beyond what they thought possible.
Art Shack is the perfect place for imagination and exploration here at Catalina Sea Camp. To exert the body in adventures out on the water is one thing – to work out your mind, getting creative and imaginative, is another! Art Shack is a place where Junior Sea Campers can become superheroes and warriors, and where senior sea campers can connect through crafting together.
At the helm of the Art Shack, and part of this week’s spotlight, is Keira, an instructor truly fit for the ideas that spring from the canvas, construction paper, glitter and paint that find their home on the art Shack’s packed shelves. During the year, Keira is busy working as a costume designer in Massachusetts and New York City, but when summer comes around, she heads to Sea Camp to lead campers in bringing to life their most creative ideas.
Art Shack has a long history at Sea Camp, as art has always been a part of camp curriculum. The current Art Shack has been a haven for students on the hill for the past 20 or so years. And in that time, instructors like Keira have been guiding students in their creative endeavors. Every lesson starts with a creative idea, perhaps imagining what superpowers one might choose, or who and what one would defend as a knight in the Middle Ages. What is awesome about Art Shack, though, is the reflective takeaways Keira works into the lessons. Superheroes defend those in harm’s way, and knights represent gallantry and chivalry, and these ideas are turned into food for thought for the campers. Questions can be powerful in these times of reflection. Often these activities spur questions like, “what kind of knight’s ideals do I want to live out in my own life? Who can I defend on a day to day basis?” Or, “what is important to me to work towards in life?” These ideas are massive subjects for anyone to take on, but when they are packaged in the form of a creative activity, campers and counselors alike both have great fun in crafting and take away something deeper.
Art Shack is part and parcel of the balance we strive to seek here at Sea Camp of pushing our bodies to adventure and encouraging our minds to grow. Keira also strives for Art Shack to be a place of reflection and rest in the midst of the packed schedule that encourages campers to make the most of every moment. In doing so, she ensures campers are refreshed and ready to take on new challenges when they step onto the deck of the Art Shack.
Running a summer art program for kids can be a challenging balance game. Keeping campers entertained and interested while keeping projects simple and relatively mess free is the ultimate goal, and I always try to mix things up so our returning campers aren’t doing the same projects year after year! I’ve done tie-dye and bleach out shirts, tiles, clay, watercolor, shrinky-dinks, silk painting and more, but I’ve always wanted to do a batik project.
Batik is the process of dying intricate designs on fabric using hot wax to block out shapes while dying the fabric with various colors. Hot wax is a tricky thing to use and keep track of when working with kids, and the materials can be expensive though, so I have strayed away from it in the past. This year however I have tried a different version of batik that is simple and kid friendly! We made a batik design on bandanas and they turned out great!
plain white bandana
bottle of washable Elmer’s Glue
Acrylic paint, paint brushes, and water
Step One: On scratch paper, lay out a design for your batik. It could be words, images, or just a cool line design. Sky’s the limit! Just think about how you want to add color and what your design will look like in the end. Once you’ve perfected your design on paper, you’re ready for the real thing!
Step Two: Using the bottle of Elmer’s glue, draw out your design on your bandana. Be careful not to make thick lines of glue or heavy dots. You want your lines to be thin and steady across the surface of the fabric.
Step Three: Let the glue dry in the sun and work on something else!
Backup projects are a huge part of the Art Shack at camp. Things like jewelry or friendship bracelets, lanyards, coloring book pages, etc. are important to have ready while projects dry or if a camper isn’t particularly involved in the project you are doing. Check out this video of another simple project that we do at camp.
Step Four: Now that the glue is dry (about 30 minutes or so of drying time), it’s time to paint! Using acrylic paint, add water to the palette to really water the paint down a bit. This makes it much easier to spread across the fabric and gives the finished project a cool, lighter effect. Cover the entire face of the fabric in paint putting colors wherever you’d like, and there’s no need to avoid the glue lines- you can paint right over the top of them! Again, reminder that you do not need heavy paint on the bandana- the lighter the layer, the better it will look and the easier it will dry.
You may want to cover your surface with paper for the paint portion, since the fabric is thin and tends to soak through onto your working surface. (You don’t want to put paper underneath for the wet glue portion however, as the glue will soak through and dry to the paper, eventually taking the paper with it when you pick up the bandana. It is easier to pull the fabric off of the table surface and wipe it down after you are finished to get rid of any glue that may have stuck to the table.)
Step Five: Let the paint dry (acrylic dries rather quickly). Once it is completely dry, throw your bandana in a wash cycle with cold water and tumble dry on low. This sets the paint in, washes the glue off of the bandana and leaves thin white lines wherever your glue was, exposing the original design you made! It also softens the fabric so now you are ready to use your bandana or display it somewhere for it to be admired! Voila!
We would like to thank you for visiting our blog. Catalina Sea Camp is a hands-on marine science program with an emphasis on ocean exploration. Our classes and activities are designed to inspire students toward future success in their academic and personal pursuits. This blog is intended to provide you with up-to-date news and information about our camp programs, as well as current science and ocean happenings. This blog has been created by our staff who have at minimum a Bachelors Degree in Marine Science or related subject. We encourage you to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, and Vine to see even more of our interesting science and ocean information. Feel free to leave comments, questions, or share our blog with others. Please visit www.catalinaseacamp.org for additional information. Happy Reading!