Camp program stimulates creativity in students

Cadence Crowder begins working on a film project.

Creativity comes and goes all the time, but a summer camp program was able to ignite some of the imagination back into campers for weeks, one clip at a time.

The Stop Motion Film Animation class at McNary High School was one of nearly 200 other classes that was offered throughout the Salem-Keizer school district. The program focuses on allowing campers to make their own stories through animations with toys, food, Play-Doh and other items.

Cara Cain and Cheryl Barrie, the advisors of the class, jumped at the opportunity to lead the program after they heard about it from the district.

“When we heard about the opportunity of the enrichment program, we were trying to decide what we would do, and we kind of threw out all sorts of ideas,” Cain said.

Cain and Barrie both teach language arts at Whiteaker Middle School, however Cain also teaches a film literature class. The two knew they wanted to do a film class but only landed on stop motion once it was suggested by Barrie. From there, things started to take action.

Everyday the class would begin with a warm-up which would include some type of game or icebreaker to get the kids involved.

“It’s just important that their having fun and feeling good about being here and being together,” Cain said.

Some parents of the campers reached out to Cain and Barrie about how happy and excited their kids were about the program.

“One parent said that their child felt like they lost their creativity but the camp brought it back to them,” Barrie said.

Xavier Sandoval works on a project in Salem-Keizer’s film animation camp at McNary High School.

Both instructors found it rewarding to watch the campers having social interactions again and enjoyed being able to see the smile on their faces. 

After warm-ups, the campers would then watch a video example of their assignment for the day. On Wednesday, July 21, the campers were assigned to make an advertisement about a food brand. A desk alongside the edge of the class had multiple brown paper bags with question marks on them. The kids would pick a bag at random and work with what was in the bag.

Campers rushed to their stations and began gathering additional materials to make their vision a reality. Many of the kids were able to finish their video the same day that is was assigned and enjoyed watching each other’s finished projects at the end.

Cain and Barrie both hope to be able to do the camp again in the future if given the opportunity.

“Hopefully we will be able to get more bodies in and then just think of ways that we could make it bigger and better,” Cain said.