Workshops Fulfill Student Needs During Pandemic Summer

Normally, as the school year ends, summer marks a time of fun and excitement.

This year, kids simply closed their laptops on their school year, and a summer of social distancing and masks began. With pools closed and many summer camps canceled, families are wondering what to do next.

Luckily, Lily Neubauer, founder of Camp Crafty Parties and author of the website, Open Hearted Home, has an answer to the kids’ boredom, both elementary schoolers, and high schoolers alike. 

Neubauer’s offers, aimed at both high school students and elementary school students, include Emerging Leaders: Creativity + Authenticity Workshop and an Open Hearted Home’s Simple Summer Craft Challenge.

The Emerging Leaders workshop is for high school students in partnership with Southern Methodist University’s College Prep program. In Neubauer’s SMU College Prep course, high schoolers will discuss what it means to be an authentic leader on “the hero’s journey” and create mission statements along with tie-dye, personal mantra bracelets, and vision boards. 

The Simple Summer Craft Challenge is a free family resource and online community that offers 25 summer camp-style craft prompts that uses only 10 basic art supplies and backyard nature. The crafts are meant to evoke self-expression and creativity. As many children will miss out on the summer camp experience this year, Simple Summer Crafts will revive the fun of camp in a safe environment. 

“The thought of running summer programming for our children with many options canceled is intimidating. With that said, it’s also important that we stay focused on the socialization and mental health of our children navigating this unprecedented type of summer break,” said Neubauer. “My goal is to provide resources to families that are simple, engaging, and fun so parents feel less overwhelmed while our children enjoy the connection and self-expression that comes from the experience of creating.”

Lauren LaRocca of the Lifelong Learning department at SMU recruited Neubauer to develop a course concept for their summer program after learning about her work as the owner of Camp Crafty Parties, a private craft party event planning service. 

“We know societally, the world is craving authentic leadership,” LaRocca says. “But in the midst of a pandemic, we’ve been able to witness the survival of businesses that are creative and personal in their response strategies. For me, this proves the need for a workshop like Lilly has developed more than ever.” 

Registration for both the Emerging Leaders: Creativity + Authenticity Workshop and Open Hearted Home’s Simple Summer Craft Challenge are now open. Emerging Leaders will meet online July 20-23. 

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