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YPI Summer Camp
YPI exists to create a safe and inspirational environment where children of diverse backgrounds and skill levels can feel free to create, explore, grow, and share their talents under the thoughtful guidance of professional artists and caring staff.
YPI seeks to produce an environment of cooperative learning for the young people it serves. YPI creates a community of respect and responsibility for young people.
For those whose talents in the visual and performing arts set them apart in their school systems, YPI provides a home base by meeting every year. Creative expression is the ultimate goal. YPI provides access to professional artists who may help guide their careers as the young people mature. These master teachers share both their talent and their wisdom.
Writing workshops involve a combination of independent creative writing and sharing and collaboration with fellow teachers and classmates. Writers will write, revise, and edit their pieces throughout the week before sharing them with the rest of the camp at We Jazz on Friday afternoon.
- Poetry - Discover the power of your words. Young poets will find inspiration and education in each other’s company, aided by the master teachers at every step in the poetic process. Students will learn about the elements of successful poetry, and then apply this knowledge to their own composition. The poets will share and revise their work in a critic’s circle, and then perform their poetry in front of the camp at the end of the week. Young poets will also get the thrill of seeing their names in print when they publish their work in the camp journal. Whether you consider yourself a seasoned poet of just a beginner, this class will transform the way you think about writing.
- Short Stories - The Short Story workshop at YPI will guide you to exercise your lofty talents as a writer with a week-long exploration of what makes good writing tick. You will learn about the elements of a successful story-plot, character, structure, pace, style – as you write a story of your own, and you will have the opportunity to grow and change as an artist in the dynamic, ego-free environment fostered by YPI’s capable staff. At the end of the week, you will confront one of a writer’s greatest hopes, and greatest fears: publication. By publishing your story online and reading your work in front of the camp, you will get a taste of what it feels like to be a working writer in the public eye. Though this workshop is primarily focused on short story writing, there will be chances to discuss other kinds of writings as well, so aspiring novelists are more than welcome. Whether you’ve just started writing of have been writing your whole life, YPI will help you sharpen your skills and grow into the best writer you can be.
Whether it is a pen, a paintbrush, a sewing machine or a camera, visual artists all have a certain medium that they like to work with. We offer top-of-the-line equipment for our artists to use during camp and beyond. While bringing your own equipment is encouraged, it is not necessary.
- Photography - Are you interested in experiencing the creation of photos in a darkroom? Do you want to work with Photoshop to enhance and mold your digital images? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, then this workshop is for you. Throughout the course of a week, Photographers will explore the basics of picture composition and be given the opportunity to work with both conventional and digital cameras. Photographers will be given the opportunity to work with their images on both Photoshop and in the darkroom. All photographers will learn something new, regardless of their current ability. Work that is selected and hung by each Photographer will then be displayed through a live gallery showing at the end of each week. All skill levels are welcome.
- Fashion Design - Next Top Model?’ This workshop is for you! Express yourself as a creator in the world of fashion. Our master teachers will introduce you to clothing and fashion design. Students will work with 2-D and 3-D elements while using fabric as a creative medium. Experiment with garment reconstruction, fashion illustration, and theatrical costume too! Sign up for the Fashion Workshop to design, create, and wear your own clothing!
- Multimedia in Visual Arts - Explore a variety of media to improve your understanding of various techniques used in 2D and 3D art. Create a series of themed and individualized portfolio based works or art in acrylic & watercolor, charcoal & pastels, clay, printmaking, observational drawing, and more! From fundamental practices to advancement in skill development, students will have the opportunity to incorporate imagination and multimedia exploration into every creation.
You don’t have to have experience on Broadway to get up on stage at YPI. Through improvisation workshops and guidance from professional actors, singers, musicians, and dancers, campers have a chance to express themselves through movement, instruments, and voice.
- Songwriting - In songwriting, you will write an original song of your own and then record a demo of it in a professional studio. Under the guidance of your master teachers, you’ll learn how to take a stroke of creativity and turn it into an idea you can run with. You will also be encouraged to use the other students in your class as the resources they are: bouncing ideas off of them, playing an instrument or singing on their songs, and even writing collectively. With the help of your classmates and your master teachers as “studio musicians,” you’ll record a demo of the song you’ve written perform your song on stage. Songwriters are encouraged to bring their instruments, ideas, and accessories. Prior musical experience is not required.
- Jazz Orchestra - Do you play a band instrument in school and love it? Join the YPI Jazz Orchestra to keep up your chops! Do you play a band instrument in school and don’t love it? Join the YPI Jazz Orchestra and learn to love your music! Jazz Orchestra will go over the basics of playing in a rhythm section, how to follow the form of a jazz tune, and how to begin soloing and improvising. Sign up for the Jazz Orchestra workshop for a swingin’ good time! (Musicians should bring their instruments to YPI.)
- Electronic Music Composition & Production - In this workshop, young musicians and composers of all levels are invited to create, produce and share original works of music. Master Teachers will help guide musicians through the entire process of composition, beat making and sound design. All genres of music are welcome, from classical to contemporary, electronic to hip/hop. Musicians will collaborate and share with their fellow classmates, learning how to properly criticize music and communicate their ideas. The only thing required for this class is an open mind and a willingness to push yourself beyond your limits (but feel free to bring any software or hardware you have that you create noise on)!
- Musical Theater - Does busting out in song and dance make your world go ‘round?! Have you always wanted to be a triple threat performer? If you want to enhance your skills, or have always wanted to try, then the Musical Theater workshop is where you need to be this summer! Beginners will get a taste of the fundamentals while seasoned performers will be further challenged in their craft. Everyone will grow while focusing on acting, voice, and dance in a rockin’ musical production.
- Dance & Movement - Express yourself through movement. Young dancers will explore body movement and improvisation while developing coordination, grace, and style. Introduction of basic dance steps as well as advanced techniques are emphasized. Students will polish their skills as they improve their confidence, stamina, flexibility, and discipline.
- Acting - In this workshop, students will learn to understand the behavior and motivation of a scene through self-exploration, improvisation, and theater games. The goal is for all actors, advanced or beginning, to find the truth and humor within the subtext of a scene and allow their imaginations to soar. Students are encouraged to take risks, explore, and to believe in the power of their creativity all within a safe and supportive environment and while laughing all week long!
Q&A with YPI Summer Programs
What draws teens to your program?
YPI creates a community of respect and responsibility for young people. For those whose talents in the visual and performing arts set them apart in their school systems, YPI provides a home base by meeting every year. Creative expression is the ultimate goal. YPI provides access to professional artists who may help guide their careers as the young people mature. These master teachers share both their talent and their wisdom.
What type of teen attends your program?
Anyone who has interest and passion for the Arts.
Where do your participants come from?
All over the US and abroad.
What's a typical day like?
This is a sample of what a day at camp might look like. Sometimes we switch the timing of things, especially town meeting and evening activity, but this gives you a good idea of what each day looks like for us.
7:30am – Wake up, shower, get ready for the day
7:55am – Leave the dorm, and head to breakfast
8:00am – Eat breakfast in the dining hall with campers and staff
8:25am – Walk to class
8:30am – First session of class begins
10:00am – Juice break! Have a snack and take a break from class
10:20am – Second session of class begins
12:00pm – Lunch break, sign up for recreation
12:30pm – Rest, play games in the quad, check out the computer lab, read a book, free time
1:30pm – Third session of class begins
3:15pm – Break from class, get ready for recreation
3:30pm – Rec time! Games, sports, and mini-workshops are offered
4:45pm – Break from rec, shower, get ready for dinner
5:15pm – Dinner and free time
6:30pm – Town Meeting – all campers and counselors meet together once a day to discuss camp business
7:00pm – Free time
8:00pm – Evening Activity: Bag & Hunt O’ Fun, Counselor/Teacher Hunt, Dance Party, Open Mic, Memory Quilt
9:00pm – Free time
10:00pm – Lights out!
What are past participants saying about your program?
"YPI has been a life changer for Olivia. This is not like a place I have ever seen before. It is a place that my daughter has made tighter connections with people (campers & teachers) than at home. She feels like she is living true to herself and grows exponentially every year. It is a safe, open minded and encouraging environment. It is a place that encourages the camper to be brave to do the things she love to do while not being criticized for making mistakes, or not being perfect. Somehow, Jeff creates this safe and encouraging environment in less than a week. The product that comes out of camp is a thriving, confident creativity that has been living inside the camper but typically too scared to previously be exposed. I have witnessed this with Olivia.
Jeff is amazing… kind and gentle, funny. He creates the bubble for the campers to have the courage to be their best and pursue scary things. Through humor and lots of communication, he created their own special language to cheer on other campers. He also teaches and models character, etiquette, and compassion for other campers. He makes all campers feel included and important.
Olivia started going to YPI when she was 10 years old. She is now 17 and she still looks forward to it every year. Due to the Midwest schools starting earlier in August, Olivia has to make a choice/sacrifice of missing the first week of school every year. Olivia is a conscientious student but loves YPI so she decides to work harder when she gets back to make up for the work. We as parents support that decision based on the growth and confidence we see her receiving from YPI. We could see the difference in her freshman year without camp.
We are from Missouri, a long way from Suffield CT. Back in 2010, Olivia then a fourth grader was writing her own stories. She told me she wanted to write a book. One of the teachers at her school encouraged her to enter a “Dream Cather Grant” creative writing contest. We found YPI through an Internet search for creative writing. Her “Dream” was to attend YPI for creative writing. She won the grant which helped pay for her to attend camp in 2010. When picking up my 11 year-old at YPI she announced that she wanted to come back next year and attend two weeks. Jeff found a sponsor to Olivia’s second week of camp and she has been coming back ever since.
We owe much to YPI for supporting and encouraging Olivia to be the best version of herself."
- Olivia's Mother
"Thank you again so much for this amazing year at YPI Camp. Thank you for inviting me back into the family. It means the world to me. I missed being here the entire year since I said goodbye last summer. This summer has given me a chance to learn more about myself and my capabilities as an artist. It has also allowed ne to see how much other artists inspire me with my creativity. It’s very special for me to be here again. Being here helps me restore my readiness to face the challenges of the school year with the YPI state of mind."
Find more testimonials on YPI's Facebook Page.