ROUSES POINT - Jason Andrew considers Camp Pocket U(topia) a success.
The arts camp, which brought out nearly 20 kids from July 21-27, allowed them to learn about various forms of art, from finger weaving to chess.
"Kids learned how to weave with one finger the first day," Andrew said. "They also learned how to knit with needles. This was meant for them. They took huge balls of yarn home and came back with it all knitted. It was amazing."
However, one of the big differences between what the children may learn in school, compared to the camp, is the cross-disciplinary way in which they are taught.
"The kids, we'd have lunch [in the gym] and they'd be watching the ballet rehearsals," Andrew explained. "A lot of these kids have never really taken ballet or seen ballet, and to watch that and to see it working, see it being built, is a whole different experience than going to The Nutcracker and seeing it completely performed."
Andrew said the children truly enjoyed watching the ballet, at times making it difficult to get through the lunch break.
"We had a hard time getting them through lunch, because their mouths were open the whole time watching them dance," he laughed.
Andrew has heard positive comments from the parents as well.
"We had one parent say that her daughter always has a very hard time getting up in the morning," he explained. "She was the first one up in the morning to come to camp."
Another difference between the way the children were taught at the camp, compared to in the classroom, was the time they received to create.
"You can see there is a huge need and desire for this kind of teaching in the North Country," explained Andrew. "They may not have the same kind of experience when they're in school, surrounded by 30 other students. They can't get that kind of individual time to create and to experiment themselves, which this camp totally offered."
The children weren't the only ones benefitting from Camp Pocket U(topia).
According to Andrew, there was also an adult camp, which brought in artists from all around to take part in classes such as sculptural knitting and Japanese marbling. There were also lectures held every evening at Andrew's home on Pratt Street.
"The artists that we've brought up from New York City as professional artists, enjoy the experience here in the village," said Andrew. "The village has been really open and warm ... That experience for them makes it so they want to come back again."
Many of the artists who came to the village were also teachers for the kids' camp.
"We don't have much funding to be able to provide and pay all of our teachers, so a lot of them offered to donate their time," Andrew said.
Andrew is already looking to the future of the camp, by building on what he learned and maybe making it two weeks, instead of one.
"It was really great to have the time that we were given," said Andrew. "Venue is always the most difficult thing."
"The Rouses Point Elementary School principal has been so generous to be able to provide this space for us to be able to create this sort of nucleus creative activity," he added.