Art in the Heart
By Dan Dickerson, Naturalist at the Mason Outdoor Center
When I was ten, I spent a lot of time inside of the house, avoiding the facets of the worlds around me; lost in the land of video games.
When I turned 19 after my first year of college I took a leap and applied for my first job working as a summer camp counselor at Camp Mason. I didn’t really know what it was going to be like, but I did know that I would make friends and do my best to go above and beyond. What I didn’t expect to find, was my passion. Sometimes you have to be lost to truly find yourself, and being lost in the woods of Hardwick, New Jersey has allowed me to find the true educator within.
Education is my passion and art is my medium. YMCA Camp Mason provides a place to foster your individual skills through active community support systems utilizing outdoor education. Being challenged to step out of my comfort zone allowed me to discover the power of expression and how to teach it to children.
Being able to bring the ‘Improvisational Contemporary Flow Art’ form know as gloving to camp mason has allowed me to share my belief in the power of expression through art, and has fortified my love for the therapeutic attributes that art can provide. Gloving is micro dance form where you use LED lights on your finger tips to express music like poetry. The improvisational skills acquired through flow arts can help anyone understand their strengths – change can start with art in the palm of your hand.
A camper once shared with me that they were glad that they joined my gloving class because it helped show them how to refocus their attention; as they were easily distracted. The following summer they had told me their grades we exponentially better ever since they started using gloving as the outlet for their frustrations in school. Hearing that, I realized my true passion is education using the skills of art therapy. The power to express your self is already in your hands, and with art you can teach others how to make a difference.
Whether I’m speaking to a parent, teacher, co-worker, or student I am always inspired by the strength they exhibit to push past their comfort, to step into their growth zone. Camp has granted me a sense of Identity, discovery, and ability.
There is a light in every person and the people you meet at camp are a lot like the stars, no matter the time or place we are surrounded by stars. The memories you create at camp are crystal gems crafted within to assure you you’re not alone, and to remind you to return to your greatness.