CoachArt Virtual Summer Camp Brings Smiles to 150+ Campers
CoachArt Virtual Summer Camp Recap: Fully enrolled, totally fun, will return
This summer, for the first time, chronically ill kids and their siblings outside of California had the opportunity to participate in a CoachArt program. CoachArt organized free virtual summer camp programs not only in our traditional service areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area, but also in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New York City, and Portland.
More than 150 kids enjoyed activities including painting, yoga, dance, songwriting, and more, led by CoachArt staff in daily, hour-long, online sessions for a week. CoachArt shipped a Camp CoachArt backpack to each participant with a CoachArt t-shirt and the supplies they’d need for the activities, including a canvas, paintbrushes, and acrylic paints.
“We had a wonderful time bringing Camp CoachArt to kids across the nation,” said CoachArt Senior Program Manager Emily Coldiron, who served as camp director. “I sincerely hope that everyone who participated was able to learn something new and feel like they were part of a larger community.”
“Out of all of the different activities I signed her up for this summer, CoachArt was the only one she was actually excited about attending,” wrote Melissa, a mom in Brooklyn, about her seven-year-old daughter Gabriella’s participation. Thanks for making our day, Melissa!
Here’s a sampling of other comments from parents:
* “I loved how easy it was for parents. The kit came fully stocked with the items needed. My kids loved doing a ‘fun’ Zoom instead of the school ones they are used to.”
* “I loved the painting activity, the yarn activity, yoga, and dancing. Wait! I loved everything about it!”
* “All activities are useful, with clear instructions, and structured to carry over the habit for real life skill.”
And a student wrote: “I discovered that I can create, invent, and do new things that I thought I couldn’t in the past.”
The idea for our CoachArt’s virtual summer camp arose from CoachArt’s pivot from in-person programming to virtual (online) programming in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Chronically ill kids are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic, so virtual programming is a great way to stay connected while staying safe.
The CoachArt team has long dreamed of serving families beyond California, which is one reason we created CoachArt Connect, our online matching platform for connecting volunteer coaches with students, which makes our programs more “scalable” than before, and The UpBeat, our website and podcast for people everywhere who are impacted by childhood chronic illness. So it made sense for us to enroll kids from other states in our virtual summer camps. We chose five cities where we hope to offer in-person programming when it’s safe once again to do so. We selected these “expansion cities” in part because they have children’s hospitals that can partner with CoachArt by referring pediatric patients to our programs. Fully two-thirds of camp participants live in those cities.
“Our team has learned so much from this experience,” Emily said, “and we’d love to continue offering new opportunities in the future!”
In the next few months, CoachArt will invite all of CoachArt’s Virtual Summer Camp participants from the five expansion cities to enroll in our other virtual programming.
Thanks to the success of Camp CoachArt this year, we plan to continue the program in the summer of 2021 and beyond!
MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR FAMILIES IMPACTED BY CHILDHOOD CHRONIC ILLNESS
Since 2001, CoachArt has matched volunteer coaches with students for one-on-one or group lessons in arts and athletics. Our vision is that one day every family impacted by chronic illness will be connected to a community of support and an opportunity to learn and grow together.
CoachArt offers free art and athletic lessons to chronically ill children and their siblings between the ages of 5-18 in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. This summer (2020), CoachArt also began its expansion to serve families in 5 new cities across the United States: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New York City, and Portland. If your child has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, we invite you to fill out a student eligibility form or get in touch to learn if CoachArt is right for your child.
WAYS TO HELP
Do you have an artistic or athletic skill you would like to share with a child impacted by chronic illness? Become a CoachArt Volunteer.