DAREarts Vancouver Summer Camp: Technology Meets Tradition

DSCN0422Thanks to support from DAREarts, UWVIDEO1 conducted a media instruction program for the Urban Native Youth Association in cooperation with the Vancouver Opera, artists Roy Mulder, Jessi Nicholson, Elder Mary Jane Joe and her husband, Wayne Campbell. The UNYA summer program was attended by urban Native youth from across the downtown east side of Vancouver. Thanks to DAREarts, UWVIDEO1 had the use of digital cameras capable of taking both still photos and video, which were used extensively in this media-intense program.

DSC_2475The first day of camp consisted of a music program conducted by Jessi in the morning, plus traditional teachings by Mary Jane Joe. After this engaging introduction, Roy turned the focus to photography instruction and camera operation, and the children were given cameras in teams of 2 along with the dare of recording their next two days of camp. All of the children did an excellent job of capturing some of the special moments of the camp in photos. A daily ending circle revealed the children’s genuine interest in taking photos and they voiced their appreciation of Jessi and Mary Jane Joe’s teachings. The connection of our urban Native youths’ interest to having an Elder mentor in the class was quite evident. One of the students reflected that “it was really great to have Elder Mary Jane Joe in our class to teach us some traditional ways.”

DSC_2723The second day was opened by Elder Mary Jane Joe who conducted a talking circle with the youths. She then conducted a lesson in traditional methods to make medicine bags. The activity created a strong focus for the task at hand, where both boys and girls demonstrated a keen interest in the sewing of the bags and each enthusiastically added their own individual flare to their work. The children then photo-documented their finished products. In the afternoon, Jessi conducted a music program and the children were asked to document activities with the cameras in an audio scavenger hunt. Roy conducted instruction of camera usage and the students proceeded to record some of Jessi’s music instruction. “It was a lot of fun working with the cameras to record our activities today.”

DSCN0503After the conclusion of this year’s camp, Chuck Lafferty, the program director at UNYA, expressed how the children loved the program and that we had excellent engagement. “The next day the children were still talking about the previous day’s activities. They loved the program and demonstrated a high degree of interest in all of the activities.”

DAREarts is a children’s charity that uses the arts to empower youth at-risk to become leaders. Our lead sponsors are Northbridge InsuranceGuy CarpenterScotiabank,Ontario Arts Council, and Ontario Trillium Foundation.DSC_2512

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