2021 Summer Camps Dates & Descriptions

outdoor camps

We are EXCITED to be planning ON THE GROUND at Clapping Hands Farm for In Person Camps in 2021! We are thinking through every aspect of every day to make a thoughtful, covid careful, inspired, FUN! camp environment! And we can not wait to see our CAMPERS!

We have information on our website that we continue to update about our Covid careful camp plans. Check it out if you want more details.

HEADS UP:

  • Enroll Early. Our COVID-careful camps will be MUCH smaller than camps in the past!
  • Selected Campers. Although early registration is very likely to secure a spot in your camp of choice, we will not be running on a strictly “first come first serve” basis. This is to ensure we have a good spread of ages, plus racial and gender balance each week.  We also want to include as many campers as possible in our 2021 season, so we may prioritize getting a camper enrolled for a first camp over a different camper coming to three camps.

choosing a camp

Each of our summer camps are UNIQUE and different from one another. ALL of our camps are AWESOME! But they each serve a slightly different age group and each camp has a very specific theme. These are not “one size fits all” camp experiences. Someone who wants to run around all day is going to be really happy at Toys and Games Camp—- and possibly really unhappy at Ukulele Camp.

It is WORKS BEST to choose your camp by reading the camp descriptions carefully, noting the age group for that camp, thinking about what your specific child would love, and including your camper in the discussion. It generally does not work as well to choose camps only on the basis of the calendar and when you need child care. Please contact director Louise Omoto Kessel if you want more guidance in choosing the best camp/s for your young person.

camp fees & registration

All camps are $300/week per camper. There is always scholarship assistance at Clapping Hands Farm. Please do not let $ be an obstacle. Our camp policy is No One Turned Away.

If you would like to contribute to our scholarship program, please see our donate page. There is a place to let us know you need a scholarship and a place to add a donation on our registration page.

To register for summer camps, please fill out a registration form for each camper attending.

what to do when a camp is FULL?

If you register for a camp that is FULL you will get added to our EMAIL LIST — which will let you know about future programs before they are announced to the general public. And you will get added to the WAIT LIST for that particular camp. It’s not uncommon for the first couple of people on the waitlist to get into that camp.

Please also consider our online workshops which all have room and have fun creative opportunities for ages 4-18!

chatham county public school students summer enrichment program!

CHATHAM COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS are eligible for FREE CAMP this summer; the school system got a COVID relief grant for summer enrichment. If your camper is a Chatham Co Public School Student, there is a place on the form to let us know what school they attend and what county you live in. There is also a place on the form to ask for a scholarship; please just let us know in that space that you are participating in the CCS Summer Enrichment program. If you are ABLE to make a donation to our program since your camp fee will be covered, this is completely voluntary, but will help us maintain our “no one turned away” scholarship program for kids outside the CCS system and ease the much tighter “money math” resulting from running COVID Careful Camps with only 15 kids per camp this summer. Any help is deeply appreciated. If you want a tax deduction for your donation, please make your donation through our Fiscal Sponsor, Fractured Atlas.


Our Stories, Our Selves: Storytelling Workshop. May 31-June 4, 2021. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Women, adults.

A storytelling workshop for women with storyteller Louise Omoto Kessel.

From Louise: “When I began telling stories for a living and started telling stories almost daily, I noticed that an awareness of my own life as story became part of my everyday sensibility. I found myself “thinking like a heroine” at critical moments and with happy results!

This workshop grew out of my interest in the places where our lives and story come together. It is not a workshop on “how to tell a story”. . . we will not focus on performance or technique. In this workshop we look at the real events of our own lives as stories worth telling. We use our ability to create new stories as a way to enrich and inform our everyday lives.”

Each day Louise will lead exercises that will help everyone find or create one of their stories. Some exercises will draw from our memories and experiences, others will be in the form of a guided journey through dream-like imagery. Then, we will take turns telling our stories. With people speaking from the heart the storytelling is consistently splendid and the sharing is a powerful community-building process. Shy people welcome.

This workshop is open to anyone who has lived experience as a woman, non-binary people are welcome.

In the event that we are not able to meet in person, we will meet on zoom. Storytelling works well on Zoom and we would like everyone to commit to joining camp on Zoom if we are unable to meet in person.

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Watercolor Camp. June 7-11, 2021. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ages 10-adult.

With Vessna Scheff

From Vessna: “Dive into the relaxing and mesmerizing textures of watercolor through a series of simple exercises (designed for beginners and anyone looking to enhance their techniques), solo and social distanced partner painting activities, and mindful observation of our surroundings to inspire out original creations. Throughout the course we’ll be guided through easy and effective lessons for developing techniques with watercolor.

The beauty in watercolors often comes from letting go of control and expectations- they have taught me so much! During this camp we’ll learn how to let go in ways that allow us to naturally fall in love with the fascinating world of watercolors. I look forward to exploring with you!

Artists and non-artists are welcome– no prior experience necessary! Let’s dive in!”

Parents and children can sign up for this camp together for a magical shared summer camp experience! Adults and children also welcome solo!

Vessna Scheff is a self-taught and acclaimed artist known for capturing natural textures of watercolor through portraiture and abstract nature scenes. The goal of her work aims to activate history, engage in the present and make fine art personal. She is currently a graduate student at the Rhode Island School of Design. This is her third summer at Clapping Hands Farm.

In the event we are not able to meet in person, we will meet on zoom from 10-3. Watercolor camp will translate well to zoom and we would like to ask all our watercolor campers to commit to zoom camp if we can not meet in person.

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Toys and Games Camp. June 14-18, 2021. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ages 7-10. FULL

Hula hooping, toy making, running around fun with Louise Omoto Kessel, Meghan Kerr, and Jan Burger. (includes a hula hoop and other toys to take home)

This years Toys and Games Camp features HULA HOOPING with Meghan Kerr! Everyone will have a chance to make a hula hoop and we will build skills and tricks with Meghan. Louise will lead toy-making projects— both open-ended imaginative projects and engineered toys and fly or “go”. Playful human Jan Burger will lead (covid-adapted) games two days this week! Good times and plenty of running around fun!

In the event that we are not able to meet in person we are prepared to meet playfully on zoom from 10-3.  We can do zoom camp if at least 8 people sign up for it. Because some of our activities do not translate directly to zoom (running games) some of the activities will be DIFFERENT, but we will have fun!

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Creative Writing Camp. June 21-25, 2021. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ages 13-19.

Poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction with Sara Graybeal

Sara Graybeal was a camper at Clapping Hands Farm our very first summer in 2000! She graduated from the MFA writing program at UNC-Greensboro in 2020, co-founded a performance poetry group in Philly called The Poeticians, has published both poetry and short stories, and is a favorite teacher here at Clapping Hands Farm.

Sara’s creative writing classes will accommodate any kind of writing you are interested in pursuing—- from very serious sensitive topics to downright silly; from lists to lyrics and performance poetry; from the last chapter of your novel you’ve been writing for the past three years to your first try at flash fiction— you can work on what you’re excited to write. She does give prompts for group and individual writing, and offers notes and guidance for projects, but most of all she creates a safe supportive space. The safety and support of this writers circle allows campers to dive deep and surprise themselves with what they are writing.

In the event that we are not able to meet in-person we will meet on zoom from 10-3. Creative Writing adapts well to zoom and we would like all our creative writing campers to commit to zoom camp in the event we must switch.

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Dance,  Music & Art Jam! June 28-July 2, 2021. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ages 12-16.

With Teli Shabu, Andrea Lara, Kennard Williams, Louise Omoto Kessel and guests

A bit of everything with engaging CHOICES morning and afternoon and plenty of time with other creative teens. Options will include  DANCE (Hip hop, latin dance, contemporary, african, tap and I’m hoping belly dancing),  DRUMMING with Teli, MUSIC jams and gobs ART projects! With Teli Shabu, Andrea Lara, Kennard Williams, Louise Omoto Kessel and guests!

In the event that we are not able to meet in-person we will meet on zoom from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (see example schedule above) Dance classes and Art projects work well on Zoom.

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Ukulele Camp for Beginner and Beginner-Intermediate players. July 5-9, 2021. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ages 10-adult. FULL

For absolute beginners, beginners, and beginning intermediate players.  (includes ukulele if needed)

Sarah Perry will teach our absolute beginners and you will be playing your ukulele by the end of the week! Sarah is part of our Clapping Hands Farm core team and a wonderful singer and songwriter!

Alex Nelson will work with our campers who are in the beginner-intermediate skill level. If you know a few basic cords, are comfortable switching between them and know a  couple of songs, this would be the group for you. Alex is a UNC school of the arts alum, he majored in guitar. He’s a wonderful musician and teacher.

Please contact us if you are not sure which camp/group would be best for you!

In the event it is not possible for us to meet in person we will move to Zoom. Zoom ukulele camp will include a PRIVATE 30 min lesson for each camper each morning along with some suggested video resources for skill building. We will meet all together on Zoom at Noon for a shared lunch and group activities until 3 p.m.  Activities might include: learning songs in small groups, watching videos of ukulele masters, music theory, song writing, and specific strumming or technique classes, and performances by campers and staff.

SKILL LEVEL INFORMATION:

If you have never played ukulele before or have just barely learned anything, sign up for: Beginner & Intermediate Ukulele Camp July 5-9 and join the Complete Beginner Group

If you know some basic chords like C, Am, F and can play some songs (but G and other three finger chords and bar chords are a little trickier for you) Beginner & Intermediate Ukulele Camp July 5-9 and join the Beginning Intermediate Group.

If you know most of the basic chords. If you know some bar chords. If G is easy for you. It’s OK if E and bar chords feel more challenging. Intermediate and Advanced Ukulele Camp July 26-30 and join the Intermediate Group

If you know most of the chords including bar chords. if you can play an A flat chord. If you have learned a lot of chords and want to learn advanced chords, picking patterns, music theory, and consider yourself to be an advanced player Intermediate and Advanced Ukulele Camp July 26-30 and join the Advanced Group

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Everything’s a Puppet Camp. July 12-19, 2021. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ages 7-12. FULL

All kinds of puppets and original puppet shows!

Everything’s a Puppet! Your hand is a puppet and so is your foot! Your finger is a puppet and so is your sock! A shovel, a spoon, a mitten, a box, a bag, a cereal box. a zuccinea, an eggplant . ..  everything’s a puppet! We’ll make puppets all week!

And make shows with our puppets. Original shows— adaptations of stories we know,  improvised shows, or write a script! Come ready to entertain and be entertained!

In the event we are not able to have camp In Person, we will offer a zoom camp. Puppet making works great on online, Jimmy has taught it as a virtual camp before; we encourage you to sign up for Zoom Camp.

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Teen Art Hangout, July 19-23, 2021. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ages 13-18. FULL

A fun, laid back camp with a fabulous array of guest artists, a big assortment of whacky art projects AND a great community of creative teens. Lots of things to try! Great people to hang with. We choose our Teen Art Hangout artists and projects to be inspiring, appealing and RELAXing!  It’s been an unusually stressful year+ and we want our Teen Art Hangout to be a place for people to destress and a healthy antidote for pandemic isolation. This camp is designed to be a safe inspired space for teens to gather for shared creativity, fun and conversation.

Specific guest artists for the summer session TBA, check back! Examples of things we did in past sessions: cartooning, drawing games, zentangles, upcycling clothing, photography, and henna.

In the event that we are not able to meet in-person we will meet on zoom from 10-3. Teen Art Hangout STARTED on Zoom and works well;  we would like all our Teen Art Hangout campers to commit to zoom camp in the event we must switch.

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Ukulele Camp for Intermediate and Advanced Players. July 26-30, 2021. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ages 10-adult.

For people with solid ukulele skills who are ready to push their abilities to the next level.

For this camp you should know most of the basic chords; know some bar chords;  G should be easy for you. It’s OK if E and bar chords feel more challenging.

Alex Nelson will work with intermediate and advanced players with a one hour technique workshop. Alex is a gifted teacher and has more than enough to teach even highly skilled players. Alex is an alum of the UNC School of the Arts guitar program and a camper at Clapping Hands Farm since age 11!

Vessna Scheff will work with both groups as well teaching songs that will advance skills and offering songwriting and performance workshops. Vessna is a visual artist as well as a performer and will be leading watercolor explorations for the third year at Clapping Hands Farm; we are excited to see her work her magic in the ukulele realm as well this year.

In the event it is not possible for us to meet in person we will move to Zoom. Zoom ukulele camp will include a PRIVATE 30 min lesson for each camper each morning along with some suggested video resources for skill building. We will meet all together on Zoom at Noon for a shared lunch and group activities until 3 p.m.  Activities might include: learning songs in small groups, watching videos of ukulele masters, music theory, song writing, and specific strumming or technique classes, and performances by campers and staff.

SKILL LEVEL INFORMATION:

If you have never played ukulele before or have just barely learned anything, sign up for: Beginner & Intermediate Ukulele Camp July 5-9 and join the Complete Beginner Group

If you know some basic chords like C, Am, F and can play some songs (but G and other three finger chords and bar chords are a little trickier for you) Beginner & Intermediate Ukulele Camp July 5-9 and join the Beginning Intermediate Group.

If you know most of the basic chords. If you know some bar chords. If G is easy for you. It’s OK if E and bar chords feel more challenging. Intermediate and Advanced Ukulele Camp July 26-30 and join the Intermediate Group

If you know most of the chords including bar chords. if you can play an A flat chord. If you have learned a lot of chords and want to learn advanced chords, picking patterns, music theory, and consider yourself to be an advanced player Intermediate and Advanced Ukulele Camp July 26-30 and join the Advanced Group

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Music Camp: Instrument Build & Play, Drumming, Jams & More. August 2-6, 2021. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ages 10-adult.

Campers will have the opportunity to build either a shekere or an mbira. A Shekere is a beaded gourd percussion instrument made by cleaning out the gourd and weaving a “skirt” of beads, seeds or shells. An Mbira is also known as a thumb piano. These are real instruments; play them in the band, take them in the recording studio! Along with building them, you will learn to play them!

Drummer Teli Shabu will host this camp week along with guest artist percussionist Beverly Botsford, and others! So, come ready to build, drum, dance and jam.

In the event we are not able to have camp In Person. . . If In Person camp is cancelled MID-WEEK we will switch to zoom to complete instruments. Our experience shows that building things over zoom takes longer, so some of our music activities may switch to songs and rhythm games. If In Person camp is called off BEFORE camp starts we will consider cancelling Music Camp; of all the camps we are running this summer this one is the trickiest to move to Zoom.

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Register for Summer Camps

Felting Camp. August 9-13, 2021. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ages 10-adult. FULL

Ever put a wool sweater in the washing machine on hot by accident? And it shrank and got really thick and tough? That is felting! Except we will do it on purpose using colorful wool to make wonderful things. Felting is the art of harnessing those same scientific principles that made your sweater shrink (with a little more technique and artistic control) for making whimsical or functional objects from wool or vegan fibers.

Felting is fun and sensory! Wet felting in particular involves hot water and cold water, soap and wool; the process is slippery, fluffy, and rough and involves gentle touch at first and then pounding and rolling and agitating. . . . even throwing your work at a wall!

Each day Louise will demonstrate a specific technique or project. Campers will develop skills in both needle felting and wet felting. A little bit of felting experience opens the door to a huge variety of projects. . . . fun felted animals, beads, jewelry, backpack charms, patches, decorations on clothing, wall hangings, pillows, pouches and bags, felted soap — and for more advanced felters, hats, mittens and slippers. This camp will give a structured tour of what’s possible; and campers will have a lot of room to follow their muse when choosing and designing projects.

Felt is the first cloth that people made; it is an ancient art form. Louise will share stories and images of felting traditions from all over the world, introduce the fiber plants and animals that provide our materials, and explain the science behind why it works!

This workshop is appropriate for people who are brand new to felting and for experienced felters who would like to spend a week creating in felt.

Louise Omoto Kessel is the founder and director of clapping hands farm. She is a professional storyteller and loves to make things— especially in the realm of printmaking, collage, finger painting and fiber arts—- and FELTING is her current favorite! Felt artist Casey Hayes will be assisting this week!

In the event that we are not able to meet in-person we will meet on zoom from 10-3. Felting adapts well to zoom and we would like all our felting campers to commit to zoom camp in the event we must switch.

Learn more about Summer Camp Plan B.

Anything Goes Camp, August 16-20, 9am-5pm for ages 7-12. FULL

A fine sampling of all our favorite things at clapping hands farm: Games, Art Projects, Nature Exploration, Outdoor Skills, Music and Dance! We might seek and find letter boxes, hike to Harlan’s Creek, learn hula hoop tricks, climb trees, make forts, learn firemaking skills, have a ukulele lesson, make slime, and SO MUCH MORE. We have 100 acres to explore, supplies for a million different art processes, a collection of drums and ukuleles and other instruments, and a staff that loves camp & campers, has a big collection of  awesome ideas, and  is skilled at creating a safe space to create and connect in.

CURRENTLY OPEN to people on Waiting Lists ONLY. We will register other people starting 4/27

Register for Summer Camps