Perfect for the middle schooler who loves to sing and cares about the planet
Written by Amy Sebesta Self, UUCB member since 2011
Sing the World Green music camps are a wonderful combination of arts and environmental education. At the camps, the students sing songs and perform skits about caring for the planet, but also engage in Earth stewardship projects. That way, they are not only “talking the talk,” but also “walking the walk.” The hope is that the combination of musical arts and stewardship work helps the students have a broader understanding of environmental issues, as well as care more deeply and take positive action.
The theme of this year’s camp is the ways in which organic farming is healthy for the planet and for our bodies. The campers sing songs and rehearse skits around this theme. There will be plenty of opportunities for solo singing, fun choreography, dancing, wacky sound effects for the skits, and instrument playing! There is something for everyone–the varied musical opportunities naturally differentiate for varied skills and personality types of the campers. Also, since this is a music camp, the week will end with a performance for parents and families, and of course, the community will be invited as well.
To embody the themes they are singing about, the campers will spend time at Cure Organic Farm, a family-owned farm in east Boulder. On the afternoon of the first day, they will take a one-hour tour to learn about how organic farming techniques can mitigate environmental and health problems. They will see these techniques in action and learn the ins and out of running a small family farm. Then, on another morning, they will volunteer in the gardens, prepping beds, planting, weeding, watering, etc. They’ll even get to collect eggs, pet the farm animals, and harvest fresh vegetables. Then back at the camp, they’ll use the fresh vegetables to prepare kid-friendly dishes and learn about why organic, whole foods are a healthy option. Doing this hands-on work alongside similarly-themed songs and skits helps the students learn more deeply, as the learning is approached through multiple modes.
But in addition to education, the performing arts also provide opportunities for self-expression, which is crucial for this age. By the time a child enters middle school, he or she has learned all about the terrible things happening to our planet; the schools do a great job in this area. What is lacking is how to process the feelings that come up, such as anxiety, fear, hopelessness, and anger. The activities at Sing the World Green camps give the children a chance to process and express these feelings. Finally, music touches our souls in a way that can calm us, as well as give us a sense of wonder.
Amy Sebesta Self, who founded Sing the World Green in 2011, has found that many of her students feel afraid about the future of our planet. Some feel hopeless and others very angry. When she started to implement the concept of song and service into her school choirs in Boulder Valley and Adams 12 school districts, she immediately witnessed the healing effect of the arts combined with hands-on service. She started doing summer camps because she wanted to go even deeper through a longer and more intensive program.
The beautiful thing about Sing the World Green is that the music and service are uplifting and do the teaching on their own. Yes, we talk about the issues to help connect the dots. But the camp is very positive—we have a ton of fun, laugh a lot, make new friends, and create memories that will last a lifetime!
The camp will be Monday-Friday, June 17-21, 2019, from 9 am to 4 pm at UUCB.