Message from Edith McCaskill (Selima’s Mom, Digital Communications Specialist at CHF)
My name is Edith McCaskill and I am the digital communications specialist at Clapping Hands Farm. I’ve lived in Pittsboro since the summer of 2019 with my husband Mati, our daughter Selima whom you may have seen at camp, my sister Kimmy, our dog Rocky and our two cats Oreo and Mitsy. We love singing and playing music and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, bike riding and jumping into any lake on a hot day.
We’re originally from Washington, DC where I worked in communications and pursued music for over a decade before moving down south. We had a vague idea of what lay ahead of us when we moved to Pittsboro to help a local farmer develop a black farmers collective. Those plans unfortunately fell through not too long after we relocated and left us with housing instability. In the midst of that experience, we found an amazing community of homeschoolers of color, local artisans, farmers and the magical camp community of Clapping Hands.
Living in Pittsboro and being a part of Clapping Hands has given me deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, community especially during pivotal life moments. Since 2020, I’ve had a few.
I can vividly remember last February being up in the Art Studio, felting the morning away during Tuesday Art Camp, when I received the devastating phone call that my beloved mother had passed away. I remember the community of family and friends who rallied around me and showed me more love and compassion than I’d ever experienced before.
Soon after, I received the news that Tuesday Art Camp was cancelled and that we’d be ordered to stay at home and social distance until further notice. Initially I felt very isolated homeschooling Selima alone. We couldn’t engage with the communities we’d just become a part of months earlier. Then Clapping Hands began to offer camp online. Those zoom workshops kept Selima creating and connected to the community we desperately needed at the time.
Then last summer our family was in need of housing and received help from the local community to find refuge in the beautiful home we currently reside in.
Things are changing again. Spring is in the air, in-person camp is happening this year, and I am preparing to deliver a baby in April. I can’t wait to bring a new blessing into our family and larger community. Already, I have received so much love and support in preparation for the baby.
With all the surprises that life has in store for us, it’s reassuring to know that the beautiful community of Clapping Hands has remained a constant.
Campers Test Covid-Careful Plans at the Farm
We have been hosting CAMPERS at the farm in order to TEST OUT our covid-careful camp plans! It’s been an entire YEAR since we’ve had in-person programs and it is so GOOD to see young people running and playing and making art at Clapping Hands Farm!
THANK YOU to the Chatham Arts Council for awarding us a grant in for COVID PIVOT expenses! The money provided is supporting us as we run these practice days testing out our pandemic protocols and purchase things in preparation for a spring and summer of in-person camps at the farm!
We’ve played covid-careful adaptations of lots of our favorite games—– turns out Everybody’s It might be MORE fun with pool noodles for tagging than the regular version! We’ve practiced lunch with “personal space” bubbles and zentangling with individual workstations. I’m reassured about camp staying FUN and the vast majority of our favorite activities being adaptable to the new protocols.
Feedback from our volunteer campers has been excellent: “My first visit back to camp since the pandemic. I won’t lie, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. But I was very happy with the precautions that the camp staff were all taking. It made me feel very safe during my visit. . . . This has been the most fun I have had in a while.”
We are running a FULL CAMP DAY on Monday, March 29th from 9-5 for a full complement of 15 campers ages 7 and up. If you would like to help with our PRACTICE CAMP DAYS as a camper, counselor or an adult volunteer please, sign up!
Now Enrolling Summer 2021 In-Person Camps and Online Workshops
We are getting so excited for our IN PERSON CAMPS!! Remember, sign up as soon as possible as our camp sizes are significantly smaller this season due to COVID. Toys and Games and Teen Art Hangout are all full with waiting lists now. Word is getting around and 15% of our current registration is from NEW people. The other camps all have space, but sometimes only a FEW spaces, so PLEASE sign up soon so you get a spot.
We are also offering THREE AMAZING ZOOM WORKSHOPS this summer. These workshops serve ages 4 through 18 and meet once a week for 8 weeks through the summer. They are: Silly Songs & Sing-Alongs, Everything’s A Puppet and Teen Art Hangout!
NOTE: If you are registered for Everything’s A Puppet at our in-person camp, we are asking that you reserve the online Puppet Workshop for those who aren’t able to attend camp in person.
Register for in-person summer camps!
Register for online summer workshops!
Clapping Hands Hosts End-of-Camp Sharing for Online Winter Workshops
Throughout the Winter we’ve had some wonderful and creative workshops on Zoom. Now, ALL the workshops we have run this Winter will have a chance to SHARE something with our camp community!
Next week, we’ll have our Final Sharing on Zoom! Campers and staff will share their creations. We’ll all catch up and check-in, before closing out the night eating POPCORN and/or ICE-CREAM together (or your snack of choice)! We can’t do an end-of-camp potluck over Zoom, so we thought it would be fun to at least be sharing the same kind of food!
Register in advance for this meeting (although, you can join an ongoing meeting!) After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
What: Dinner and a Show
When: Friday, March 26, 2021, 7:30-9:30pm
Register in advance!
Clapping Hands Hosts Variety Show at Bynum Front Porch in May
Clapping Hands Farm is “taking over” the Bynum Front Porch live stream with our Big Wonderful Variety Show! We have missed getting to put on this show at Shakori Festival since the pandemic, so when Cindy Raxter asked if we could do it for Bynum Front Porch we welcomed the chance to kick off our 2021 Camp season this way! Please join us for drumming, dancing, singing, storytelling, jump roping, hula hooping, and more!
When: Saturday, May 15, 2021, 7:00 p.m
Where: Facebook Live
Housing for Staff and Various Items Needed for Summer Camp
- “TV Tray Tables- for individual socially distanced work stations
- Badminton nets and rackets (good socially distanced game)
- A macbook or an ipad. Could be older, but still functioning.
- Housing for staff. We are looking for places for staff to stay near Clapping Hands Farm. We will need staff housing for spring break camp (April 3-10) and each week from May 30- August 15. Some weeks we have out of town Lead Teachers, and we will prioritize finding housing in those weeks. House sits, airbnb’s offered at no cost, cabin in the woods, tent sites with shower privileges. . . any housing options could be so helpful.
Let us know if you have ideas or can help by emailing us at: clappinghandsfarm@gmail.
Volunteer Opportunities at Clapping Hands
WORKDAYS AT THE FARM – We are still having work days at the FARM! Want to get outside, social distance and have fun cleaning up around the farm and help get everything ready for our 2021 camp season. We’d love for you to join us on our work days! Link below to sign up OR contact Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to volunteer!
CARPENTRY HELP– We need a rack built for the bins we keep paper in. This is a relatively small project but will make life in our art supply world so much better! We need help designing and building some weather proof storage in the camp shelter. This is a more involved project but it will make a big difference to be able to leave materials in the shelter and have them be protected from the rain.
CAMPERS TO TEST NEW COVID-CAREFUL ACTIVITIES – We also need CAMPERS to help us test out our covid careful camp plans both in person and on zoom. Please fill out this form if you would like to help in this way! Specifically we are hosting an in person practice camp day from 9-5 on Monday March 29. We’ve already hosted three practice sessions for part of the day and tested out lots of things. On the 29th we’ll put it all together for an entire camp day with a full complement of campers. We have room for 15 campers. If you would like to help with our PRACTICE CAMP DAYS as a camper, counselor or an adult volunteer please, sign up!
WORDS FOR CROWD FUNDING SPOKEN WORD PIECE -We need campers, parents and staff to send Khallori Cosmey WORDS. . . about camp for our 2021 crowdfunding video which will feature a SPOKEN WORD piece crafted by Khallori and Sara Graybeal. They will weave your words into a poem that will anchor this year’s GoFundMe. Here are some prompts:
- What was your thought process when learning that camp wouldn’t be happening in person Summer 2020? What did you think? How did you feel?
- If you’ve been engaging in camp zoom programs Summer 2020-present, what have these programs meant to you?
- What are some of the ways COVID-19 has impacted you and your family?
- How do you feel about camp being back in-person this summer? What are you most looking forward to?
- If you are not coming to in-person camps this summer and instead sticking with Zoom programs, what are you most looking forward to?
Once they have their spoken word piece finished they will need a few different voices to record the piece for the Scholarship Fund video, so if that is something you would be interested in please indicate that in your email response.
Community News and Connections
- HERE is the latest video from Sarah Perry & Jimmy Magoo. For more info, check out Sarah Perry & the Confluence on Patreon.
- Twice a month, Joshua Lozoff offers his virtual magic show through Zoom! It’s live and interactive and amazing. The next shows are 3/26 and 3/27. Learn more. And he’s offering discount tickets to the Clapping Hands Farm family. Contact him directly at email@example.com for a discount code. And see his show. It’s amazing!
In addition to our Facebook page, we created a private Facebook Group where you can stay connected with Clapping Hands Farm community members! Join our FB Group!
Also, Please let us know if you need assistance during this time! Or if you’d like to assist! There are some camp families who are struggling through this pandemic with basic needs and our clapping hands farm community is providing grocery store gift cards and other assistance.
Lastly, send your NEWS for the next newsletter or share it in our new facebook group!! Concerts, events, awards, baby births, marriages, sickness, help needed, your personal business classifieds. . . . we’d like to support, celebrate and connect people here!