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Tucker Maxon School on SE Holgate Blvd came up with creative ideas for kids in their summer camp

DAVID F. ASHTON - Part of Nordic Week, at Tucker Maxon Summer Arts Camp, found the campers making their shields - as these kids proudly show. Although regular school classes were closed for the summer, kids were seen coming to Tucker Maxon School, on Holgate Boulevard in the Reed neighborhood, from late June until the end of August.

"We call it 'Tucker Arts Camp', and this summer's theme is 'Traveling the World', during each of our eight weeks of programs for children in grades kindergarten through 5th," said the school's Executive Director, Glen Gilbert.

Asked how the summer camp came to be, Gilbert explained, "We have this beautiful campus; but it wasn't being used during the summer. In 2014, we decided to create a summer 'arts camp', because there isn't anything like that anywhere in Southeast Portland."

Over the years, it has grown in popularity. "This year, it's overwhelmingly successful, despite COVID-19, because parents see the need for their kids to get outside, and get together with each other, and do creative things together, in a safe environment.

"During the first week in late June, when the temperatures were soaring, parents said they were incredibly happy that all of our buildings have air conditioning – in fact, some of the adults joked with us, asking of they could come to camp along with their kids, to get out of the heat!" related Gilbert.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Some of the campers headed down from Tucker Maxon Schools unique treehouse, ready for their next activity - climbing the wall in the gym! We took a tour of the grounds with Camp Director Joe Fie, who told THE BEE that it has been hosting 60 campers a week, for eight weeks. The "campers" are divided into six groups of ten kids each. "Some youngsters come for the entire summer, some come for a week."

Over the six weeks, campers explore the art of storytelling through music, movement, and visual arts. Each week focused on a different culture: African, Pacific Islander, Nordic, Chinese, South American – ending with Greek and Roman myths.

The groups of ten students rotated through different spaces on the campus -- some in the tree house; others with the resident goats; some in the gym; and other enjoying art projects under the shade of large trees. All looked to be having a wonderful time.

For more information about Tucker Maxon School, or the arts camp when it returns next summer, go online -- www.tuckermaxon.org


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