Speaking up and speaking out

When Brandon Doyen from WABI Channel 5 News showed up to ‘Speak Your Mind’ camp on Thursday 7/13, campers were more than ready to get in front of the camera.

“What have you learned about the First Amendment this week?” Doyen asked.

“It’s important because it gives people the freedom to do things without the government telling them they can’t or you have to do this or that,” explained 9-year-old Adelle MacLeay.

Children’s Discovery Museum camp director Abby Stratton led the week-long camp. Hands-on activities such as full body tracing and portrait creation along with shared reading of books like We the Kids by David Catrow and The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy introduced campers to the concepts of free speech and expression. Teacher Kym Bryant helped kids move from self-portrait-drawing to identifying the strengths that make them a hero in their own community.

Each camper used the week’s activities to speak out about a specific cause or opinion. Adelle decided to support big cat rescues. Michael Loubier likewise chose to focus on an endangered species – golden bamboo lemurs. For Azalea, endangered species in general needed her support. “People aren’t really paying attention to what they’re doing to animals. … It’s like the people and the animals are in a race and the people have a two-foot head start,” she wrote in her letter to the editor. Sage Sculli decided to use her voice to change the way boys think of girls. Zuri chose to speak up for clean water.

Writer and editor Maureen Milliken led the campers in writing letters to the editor about their topics.

Skits about civil discourse capped off a morning hike at the Viles Arboretum. “What do you think is the strangest animal friendship?” campers asked each other. No one agreed.

Art, dance, spoken word and writing all flowed freely during a week of camp.

Thanks campers, you taught us more than you will know!

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