As three high school students who were brought up in immigrant families, we witnessed the divide between our school lives and home lives. The stories and legends taught by our parents and those from our teachers differed drastically, and this was only with the knowledge of our own cultures. Being passionate about storytelling and the arts, we wanted to design a camp to educate youth about the diversity present in literature and the arts throughout the world.

We decided to begin an arts and storytelling camp called Artistic Atlas. Artistic Atlas is a week-long program tailored for children aged 7-11 to impart lessons on cultural acceptance and diversity. To host our camps, we partnered with the South Vancouver Family Place and their executive director, Julio Bello, and used their facilities for our camps. We emphasized hands-on activities based on stories and legends from various cultures to actively nurture creativity, passion, and curiosity in young participants. During our first session over winter break, we met and taught 17 kids. From creating model djembe from West Africa to painting koi fish from the Dragon’s Gate legend of China, the kids were enthusiastic to learn and create. Through these camps, we have gained valuable experience in lesson planning, teaching, and logistical management. Additionally, we have learned how to adapt to unexpected situations and communicate effectively, whether it be with children or adults.

On the last day of the camp, we had a showcase for the students to display and introduce the crafts they created to their parents. This was truly the most memorable part of the camp, as we were able to see for ourselves how excited the kids were about their art as they led their parents around, pointing out little details and features that they loved making. We greatly enjoyed seeing so many kids passionate about their work and the stories behind them, and are currently spearheading plans to expand Artistic Atlas in the future!
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