People say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and it can also be said that the Craft Porch is the heart of camp.
Almost everyone is on the craft porch at one time or another, starting at the beginning of each week when the counselors are making decorations to welcome the new campers. The Craft Porch is my home away from home. As an art teacher in the “outside world,” I felt right at home the second I stepped foot on the Craft Porch. Most people would see all the supplies and resources and become overwhelmed, but I look at all the supplies and imagine all the possibilities we have to offer campers. I love working as the Craft Specialist because I get to connect and spend time with campers and staff from different divisions and build relationships that I may not have the opportunity to do otherwise.
Last summer was my first year as Craft Specialist, and my biggest challenge was trying to think of how to match crafts to camp’s goal of helping campers grow with the camp’s core values. Although I love making lanyards and pom pom critters, the biggest challenge you face is deciding what kind of design you want. I wanted to bring new lessons to the craft porch so the campers learn new skills and experience a little bit of a challenge just like they would in the other activity areas of camp. Crafts can be challenging at times, but it is also fun! You learn new skills like weaving, sewing, knitting, origami, basketry, leather craft, throwing on the potter’s wheel, or creating a relief tile out of tissue paper and glue.
Because there is a lot of independent work happening, the campers quickly engage in really awesome conversations. You never know what the conversation of the day will be. They could be asking questions about something they read in Morning Watch, telling stories about new experiences, or even bursting out into camp songs. I remember one time a comment about mosquitos ended up leading to a discussion about creation, the fall, and God’s plan of salvation. Campers also love to sing and will spend the entire time they are working singing camp songs, laughing about how silly they are, and adding new verses to them. During week 3, I was teaching a class of 20 Pathfinders and Trailblazers, and it was the most energetic class I had all summer. They would always sing as loud as they could and had a blast singing The “Sea of Galilee” or “It’s Cheese” the entire week while making their crafts. I can see the individuality of each girl sitting on the porch as they work with their hands, and yet there is a great similarity in them – that of being a Cedarbrook girl!
We see and interact with God’s creation every day at camp, especially in crafts. From the back Craft Porch, you can see the lake sparkling in the sun. On the front craft porch, you watch the birds playing on The Green. A chipmunk will run across the craft porch looking for a snack. Sometimes we will take the class on a field trip to The Cove to draw and paint landscapes or to The Nature Nest to interact with the animals and draw them. We will also make crafts of objects found in nature or using nature in creative ways. I think this is one of my favorite parts of camp – creating in God’s great creation!
My prayer for this coming summer – and I would ask that you consider joining me in this – is that the girls would have their eyes and hearts open more to see the love and mercy of an incredible God who handmade them, and that through the activities on the Craft Porch and elsewhere in camp, these girls can go home changed for all of eternity. That would make this the best summer ever!
Lauren “Marty” Snider first heard about camp when BEAN and Ollie came to her church on Long Island to run a “Rock-a-thon” fundraiser for the new stables. She went to Mother-Daughter weekends, attended camp as a Trailblazer and CILT I, returned to camp as staff in 2017, and is currently the Craft Porch Specialist. When not at camp, she is hard at work teaching art, working on new ideas for the Craft Porch, or playing board games with friends.