If you have seen activity when driving by Trenton United Methodist Church this week, you are witnessing part of an event that organizers hope will have a big impact.
This week the First Annual Fine Arts Camp is being held at Trenton United Methodist Church (TUMC). A little over forty children and youth, ages 5 to 18, from Dade County and the surrounding area are spending time each day learning art, music, drama, and dance.
The camp is the fruition of an idea by Dottie Abercrombie, a member of TUMC and retired educator.
“Arts education has a significant effect upon the academic and social success of students,” Abercrombie said. “Our goal this week is to expose students to a wide variety of art experiences.”
Abercrombie obtained grants from the McKenzie Foundation, the United Methodist Houston Foundation, and from St. Katherine Drexel Knights of Columbus. She also was able to offer some scholarships through donations from local individuals and organizations. Campers could take one class or any combination of the four.
 
Art is being taught by Dade County graduate Leah Gossett. Gossett is currently a graduate student at Florida State University and a teacher of three dimensional art. Elementary campers are making different types of sculptures while middle and high school students are working with apparel art and sculpture.
“When I was an art student in middle school and high school we never had anything like this, ” Gossett said. “I am glad they are starting this now so that kids can be introduced to art earlier.”
 Gossett said she likes that Fine Arts Camp is getting kids started  started at a younger age and that she has heard some of the younger campers saying they have never done anything like this (sculpture) before.
Jessica Campbell who started training in dance at age four, is teaching the Dance class this week. Campbell teaches ballet, tap, jazz, pointe,  Latin jazz, contemporary, and kicklines at Karen Horton School of Dance.
“I like how excited all the kids have been to dance,” Campbell said, “especially the ones who have no background in dance. I love how excited the boys have been to dance. Sometimes more than the girls. I love all the positive attitudes. Everyone comes in with a smile. There’s no bad attitudes.”
For Drama, campers are working with Jessica Wilson, who is a certified Drama teacher who teaches at Dade County High School and Dade County Middle School.
Wilson is also an Improvisor at Improv Chattanooga and has been working with all campers on improv.
“I like the diversity of age and progression throughout the day and how one activity works for all ages, Wilson said. “What remains the same is the enthusiasm for theater.”
Wilson said she has seen the kids be supportive of each other, encouraging the campers who are shy and are now getting up on stage and acting with everyone else.
Erin Potter Faile is another Dade County graduate and is teaching music. Faile is a certified music teacher who teaches at Beulah Elementary School. Potter is also a Licensed and Board Certified Music Therapist.
Faile has been teaching the younger campers drumming and middle and high school students ukulele.
“This fine arts camp is valuable for the students because it offers many different avenues for creative expression while fostering relationships between students and teachers,” Faile said. “Fine Arts learning supports academic and social success while bolstering students’ confidence and providing new forms of self expression.”
“It has been a wonderful week,” TUMC Pastor Dennis Flaugher said. “I think that we have really connected with something Dade County families are really interested in. We look forward to doing this next year, maybe with an expanded version.”
A display for parents and family of different projects this week and performances by the campers will end the Fine Arts Camp on Friday.
“We pray that our art camp activities have an impact upon the enrichment of the soul and spirit of each child, ” Abercrombie said.
Summited to the Independent By Summer Kelly