Artists and youth creative work on Zoom
TYCL International’s Virtual Creativity Camp for Positive Mental Health: Program Report
About the Program:
From August 10-14, 2020, TYCL International partnered with the Circle of Dreams Family Enrichment Center in Highbridge, the Bronx, New York, to provide online positive arts programming and meditation sessions to BIPOC youth.
In two sessions per day, youth explored their identities, life experiences, and creativity through drawing, graphic design, theater, poetry, and collage making.
Teaching artists centered the sessions around positive mental health, with special attention to youth experiences of COVID-19 and the racial justice crisis and Black Lives Matter movement.
- 30 youth participants of color ages 9-17
- 11 equitably employed teaching artists
- 15 engagement hours over 5 days
- 1 exceptional community partner
A Model in Equitable Partnership:
We prioritized inclusive, participative, and equitable relationships with our community partner and teaching artists. This entailed pre- and post-camp group discussions and iterative cycles of co-planning, listening to and centering the needs of each partner.
Project coordinators documented this collaborative process and learnings in two Medium articles:
Teaching artist compensation $1150
Youth scholarships and awards $685
Collaborator honoraria $340
Social media promotion and technology $95
Challenges and Opportunities:
Our GlobalGiving campaign aimed to raise $5,000 to support the program for 100 youth in three communities. With just over $1,500 raised, we tapped into our general operational budget and piloted the program model with 30 youth in one community.
With this successful proof of concept, we look forward to expanding our network of partners and supporters to launch virtual and in-person creativity camps for positive mental health twice a year in communities where youth are most in need.
The feedback we received from youth, our community partner, teaching artists, and collaborators, was overwhelmingly positive, and also collaboratively constructive. We look forward to incorporating lessons learned into future camp programs and equitable partnerships.
“My camp experience was amazing. I really enjoyed all the workshops and every part of it. With so much going on growing up as a teenager, in addition to COVID-19 and the racial justice movements, camp contributed a lot to my mental health. Particularly, meditation before every workshop helped me a lot in bringing focus on my goals.”
--15-year-old youth participant
“This camp was mind-blowing. I witnessed all the arts activities which will help the youth a lot in life by seeding new ideas, dreams, and opportunities. I convey special gratitude to the TYCL team for making this time and space to the next generation to grow as conscious and responsible leaders.”
-- Community partner, Bronx NYC
Teaching artists pre-camp planning discussion
Teaching artist leading a mindfulness session
Youth artwork - ecosystem-based visualization