Once you read Chapter One in Sparkhouse’s latest release titled Creative Arts Camp: Four Summer VBS Programs, you’ll realize that this approach to VBS may be different than a typical VBS. Creative Arts Camp focuses on recruiting local artists who lead kids through multi-faceted, meaningful artmaking, music, and movement together to create a memorable summer experience. While recruiting artistic talent may pose some different challenges than what you’ve faced in past programs, the results can be stellar!
Here are some ways to get started with inviting talented artists to join your Creative Arts Camp community.
- Recruit creative arts teachers in your congregation. You may have elementary teachers in your church who do not volunteer to teach Sunday school during the school year because they are teaching kids all week. (Can you blame them?) Asking for a one-week commitment during the summer (for which they will be paid for their expertise and experience) may be a better fit for these educators. The good news is that even if they turn down your offer, they may be able to help you recruit. (See #2 below.)
- Ask teachers in your congregation for recommendations. Many teachers maintain a broad network of current and past colleagues who are trained as art and music teachers, and they may know dance instructors and theater directors as well. Teachers are so well-connected that even if they don’t know someone, they know someone who knows someone. Tap into this deep well of knowledge to find local artists who may be a good fit for your program.
- Identify local artists who teach community education. Do you have an art center, music school, or community theater that offers classes to kids? The teachers of these courses may be interested in summer opportunities like Creative Arts Camp if they have not yet booked creative work during every week of the summer. Be clear about your expectations for a person’s faith background and religious beliefs if you are recruiting in this way.
- Ask artistic college students who are home for the summer. If your church membership includes young adults majoring in education and/or artistic fields who may be a good fit for this role, contact them early (like, right now!). Ask if they would be interested and available to offer leadership at Creative Arts Camp. Make sure you let them know this is a paid position. You may need to use video conferencing to include them in your planning meetings.
- Make specific asks of your congregation. You may discover you have some retired teachers or former teachers you don’t even know about who would be interested in this opportunity to lead, teach, and spend time with kids for a week. Make it clear that you are asking them for their interest, not offering the teaching position right away. You need make sure they will be a fit for the needs of your camp.
- Ask ministry leaders at other churches for help. If you come up short on recruiting these artistic leaders, connect with another children’s ministry leader and ask if they have anyone in their church who may be a good fit. (This is different than asking them to lend you their best Sunday school teacher for a year. Hopefully they will be receptive to sharing talented and faithful leaders!)
- Post the positions on local job boards. Write a clear and lively job description first, making it clear that this is a contracted position, not employment by the church. If you treat this position as a professional opportunity for which only skilled educators need apply, you may be delighted at the results.
No matter which strategy you decide to try first, begin your search with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to guide your process of discovering talented artists who will connect with kids creatively, socially, and emotionally.