Reflections: Uganda Arts Camp
by CWC Director, Mina Liccione
I was thrilled to be able to see our idea of a Clowns Who Care Arts Camp come to life this summer. We held our inaugural camp at the Live it up! Home for rescued children in Uganda from July 4-8, 2013. The camp was carefully designed and took months to prepare. Our team of talented volunteers included Ali, Abel, Ellen, Sol, Syma and myself. We focused on 7 core artistic elements: dance, drama, circus skills, visual arts, comedy, rhythm and voice.
Each morning we started with a big group warm-up, call and response rhythms, songs and a new circus skill. We would then split them into three groups based upon their age. Each group would have three, one hour rotations, of dance, drama and visual arts. We would end the day with a final big group activity, ‘a funny’ and a closing circle. On the last day we put together a very relaxed final showing of the performing arts work they created as well as an art exhibit. The children were very proud of their work as were we of them.
Arts camp ended with a graduation ceremony where each participant received a small token of appreciation that of which continued into a dance party. We danced, laughed and celebrated! The children’s confidence had elevated tremendously from the first to the last day as did their communication and creative skills. Their smiles grew bigger by the day as did their hugs. We were sad to have to say goodbye but are blessed and grateful to have shared such precious time with them. We look forward to creating more memories with them and are already making plans for next year.
I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who graciously donated art, health and hygiene supplies. The kids and entire staff greatly appreciated them and every single item was put to excellent use. I would also like to thank the team of volunteers for their incredible work and the Live it up! Home for welcoming us with open arms, minds and hearts.
I’ve inserted some photos of our adventure below. Hopefully they will bring a smile to your face and inspire you to take a chance on making a difference in the world. No good deed is too small! We each can create more of an impact than we realize and when our energy is focused on good nothing but joy can grow from it. Though I was meant to be the head teacher/director of this camp…. I was the one who learned the most.
I was reminded to:
- Appreciate the small things in life and to not take a single thing for granted
- To value the endless love my parents and family have given me
- That my ego is not my amigo
- My sole purpose as an artist is to make this world a happier place
- The power of teamwork and surrounding yourself with passionate and positive people pushes your spirit to new levels
- The next time I think my meal is taking a long time I need to remember it takes over an hour to get served in Africa! Be patient.
- When it rains I must remember that for some people they are celebrating the fact they have clean drinking water coming from the sky
- All of my years of improv training was well worth the work as it was put to good use!
- Though I can’t change the sadness, war, pain, violence, strife in the world… I can do good and help those in need. I can change myself and my priorities.
I could go on and on but I will end here. My humbled heart is heavy and I hope this feeling stays with me for a long time.
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’ Hungry not only for bread — but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing — but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks — but homeless because of rejection.” ~ Mother Teresa
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