Lucia Thede calls herself “one proud momma” when she talks about her nine-year-old son Luca. She describes him as a boy of few words, but “With the Kids Design Glass project he had to be front and center and actually talk to people (the artists) about his vision of what the drawing needed to look like in 3-D, and I am just proud that he was so excited about the whole thing and that it was my kid that they picked.”
Luca, a participant of Camp Fire, was selected to be the “kid designer” in March as part of Museum of Glass’s Kids Design Glass™ program. Museum of Glass (MOG) is a 75,000-square-foot art museum in Tacoma, Washington, dedicated to the medium of glass. Luca’s experience is part of a year-long partnership between Camp Fire and MOG.

This partnership began in the fall of 2015, when Camp Fire released a glass curriculum, developed by MOG staff, into the “open medium” slot of their National Art Experience. This annual Camp Fire event follows a cycle of art mediums (painting, fibers, printmaking, photography, clay, and open medium) and is designed to empower youth to explore art as a career or hobby and encourage their creativity.

As a Camp Fire volunteer (alumna, leader, and parent) and MOG staff member, Rebecca Engelhardt took advantage of her joint roles to connect Camp Fire youth with opportunities to explore the medium of glass. She states, “The partnership between Museum of Glass and Camp Fire was a natural connection. Both organizations have at their core a passion for providing dynamic experiences for youth. Connecting through the National Art Experience and Kids Design Glass™, MOG was excited to provide a new opportunity for Camp Fire kids and families to explore the diverse medium of glass and increase their own personal creativity. We wanted Camp Fire youth to have as many opportunities to engage with Museum of Glass resources as possible, whether those were in person or online. One of those activities was to invite Camp Fire youth from across the United States to submit drawings to the Museum of Glass, Kids Design Glass™ program.“

Luca’s design, submitted as a colored-pencil drawing, is called I See You.. His description of the picture is “Aliens are watching us.” Camp Fire kids submitted drawings from across the nation, and Luca’s winning design was chosen especially because of the small detail of the eyeball at the end of the telescope. Luca was inspired to create this design as the result of a school project for which he had to create a planet, name it, and come up with creatures that lived on the planet. Mom and son learned about alien water and where it comes from at the local WET Science Center in Olympia.

The mission of MOG is to provide a dynamic learning environment in order to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections, and exhibitions. Since its founding in 2002, MOG has been committed to creating a space for the celebration of the Studio Glass movement through nurturing artists, implementing education, and encouraging creativity.

According to the website, Kids Design Glass is an ongoing program at Museum of Glass that invites children 12 and under to stretch their imaginations and create original designs. The whimsical designs kids create stretch the talents of the museum’s highly-skilled glassblowing team—and they love the challenge! One entry is selected to be interpreted into glass by the Hot Shop Team each month. Two sculptures are created—one for the designer to take home and one for the museum’s Kids Design Glass™ Collection.

More information about how to participate in the program is on the museum’s website: http://museumofglass.org/public-programs/kids-design-glass-program .

According to Cathy Tisdale, President and CEO of Camp Fire, this program fits right into Camp Fire’s program methodology—called Thrive{ology}. “The intention is to positively impact youth, their purpose, life, and social skills, through the care and interest of a helpful adult. Camp Fire sincerely thanks Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, for their significant contribution to the 2015–16 National Art Experience.

“The objectives of this program are so important to Camp Fire. We strive to increase personal creativity, increase competency in, and learn the appropriate application of, the art medium. The young people gain greater self-awareness, become more aware of and reflect on their sparks, and develop skills and find outlets for personal expression. We are so proud of Luca and all of our Camp Fire kids who participated in this program. They embody what Thrive{ology} is all about.”

The purpose of the Camp Fire National Art Experience is to empower youth to explore art as a career or hobby and encourage their creativity. Participants in any Camp Fire program—school-year programs, camp and environmental education, or teen service and leadership—can participate in the National Art Experience. Participants can choose from several activities. These activities can be completed individually or as a group.

The National Art Experience is conducted through local Camp Fire councils. Each council may determine specific deadlines and local resources. Councils may encourage individual program sites to conduct local art shows or competitions, which may or may not also participate in a larger council experience. Glass art displays can be learning tools for youth and their families.

Camp Fire has been conducting the National Art Experience (formerly National Art Competition) since 1973. This experience recognizes and encourages creativity, excellence, and innovation in the arts. It is conducted locally by each Camp Fire council, using national guidelines. In the early years, the experience was based entirely on creativity; there were no age- or program-level divisions. In 1994, age- or grade-level categories were put into place.