Summer is a great time to host a Summer Arts Camp at your church. There’s not a prescribed formula for the ‘hows, whens, and whys; it’s completely up to you and your unique set of circumstances. For many, the Summer Arts Camp is a great way to keep children participating in the arts while taking a break from regular week-to-week programming. The camp can also be a great launch pad for your fall programming, or serve as an outreach effort in your community.

Regardless of your purpose for hosting a Summer Arts Camp, consider the following bullet points as tools to help you with your process:


WHEN: You’ll need to decide when is the best time to host your arts camp. Try to stay away from other large-scale events already on the calendar such as Vacation Bible School or Student Camp. You’ll also need to choose what time of day your camp will run. Although it’s not a ‘rule,’ most camps I’m familiar with seem to run in the morning, perhaps from 9:00 a.m. – noon. If you decide to serve lunch, maybe your camp ends at 2:00 p.m., or even later if caretakers have concerns about activities continuing through the workday.


CAMP DIRECTOR/WORKERS: Who will act as your camp director? Who will you enlist as workers? How will you train your workers for camp? Find someone who is well-organized with an eye for detail to run your Summer Arts Camp. As you enlist workers, remember you will need some workers who can guide students from one location to another, as well as other non-musical/art tasks. These workers do not have to be artisans, which gives opportunity to involve a large cross-section of your congregation in your camp.


PAYOFF: Early on, you’ll need to make decisions about the culmination of your Summer Arts Camp. Will you present a full-length musical at the end of the week? Will your payoff be more of an exhibition of talent and art? Many end-of-the-week programs are typically held on the evening of the last day of camp.


CURRICULUM: What will your teachers use for their curriculum? What the teachers use is dependent on your stated purpose for your camp and what kind of payoff you’ve decided to have. Experienced teachers may have their own ideas about curriculum, while others will need more guidance from you. If you’re teaching a full-length musical, the decision is already made for you.


ROOMS: The rooms available for your use during camp time will help shape much of what you choose to teach and when to teach it. Decide early on which rooms will be used, and be sure to reserve them in plenty of time to ensure there are no space conflicts.


SCHEDULE: Many Summer Arts Camps have rotating schedules which allows students to experience many different facets of creative arts. As you develop your camp schedule, you will want to keep similar-aged children together as they go through their day. Also, watch for potential hallway ‘train wrecks’ as you consider passing times.


CLASS ROTATION: There are so many different creative things you can teach in your Summer Arts Camp. Consider these: Orff instruments, Boom Whackers, Recorder, Group Guitar, Drawing and Painting, Music and Movement, Group Dance, Musical Theatre, Choir, Technical Arts, Piano Lab, Computer Music Lab, to name a few.


I wish you the very best this summer with your Summer Arts Camp, and if I can be of service to you, please contact me at



John Parker




John Parker
A native of Louisiana, John Parker holds the BM in Vocal Performance from Louisiana College and the MM in Choral Conducting from Northwestern State University. Composing primarily for church and school choirs, John’s 600+ choral works are published by numerous state-side companies. Active as a choral clinician and lecturer, Mr. Parker is author of How to Start a Fine Arts Academy in Your Church and numerous drama collections. John and his family make their home in Austin, TX where John has served as Associate Pastor of Worship & Music at Austin Baptist Church since 2014.





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