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Program Spotlight: Arts Ignite Waterloo!

Leading with a SPARK in Waterloo!

It’s finally summertime, which means Summer Camp is back in action. 

Our Programs team kicked off June in Iowa for the inaugural Arts Ignite Waterloo! Summer Camp. This two-week residency integrated English Language Learning with Theatre and Dance for 150 emerging multilingual learners in grades K-12. Fifteen different languages were spoken across this extraordinary group, including Burmese, Spanish, French, and Swahili, many of which being first-generation. 

Students had the opportunity to engage in arts-rich learning, focusing on strengthening students’ English language proficiency, positive interactions with their community, and positive peer relationships. They also concentrated on building core skills like creativity, confidence, collaboration, communication, and social-emotional learning. By exploring their creative potential, these young people were able to imagine new possibilities and gain skills that would support them throughout their lives. 

This program partnered with the Waterloo School District and the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center at the University of Northern Iowa, led by nine Arts Ignite Teaching Artists and staff. The exciting curriculum consisted of dance, visual art, circus arts, and theater classes. While there, the team also led a Professional Development workshop for Waterloo School District Teachers and affiliates. 

The program culminated with a student talent/skill show and community performance. Before departing, students and staff were able to record the camp theme song, “Lead with a SPARK,” in a professional studio, highlighting the camp values of Success, People, Adventure, Respect, and Kindness. Give it a listen here!

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