‘BELIEVE’ Summer Camp ready to inspire area youth

Published 6:20 am Saturday, May 28, 2016


Right now, there are talented professionals in New York, Los Angeles and Omaha, Nebraska making plans to come to Washington Parish next month. They are each wrapping up tours, television shoots, theatrical presentations and other directorial and creative projects in their respective locations before flying here in a few weeks. Bogalusa native Bruce Sampson is bringing in this talented group of “young” artists to teach and direct local youth as part of the “BELIEVE Summer Camp Experience.”

BELIEVE is a five-day performing arts camp for third- through 12th-grade students. It is scheduled for Monday, June 27, through Friday, July 1.

During the camp, students will be divided into peer/age groups and rotate on a schedule through classes in singing, dancing, acting, and other creative projects and activities. Classes will begin at 8:30 a.m., and conclude at 3:30 p.m. each day.

This year’s theme is “Inspired” and the camp team plans to do just that — inspire the youth and community.

“We’ve added some new components and switched a few things around that will spice things up and challenge students,” Sampson said. “It’s still going to be a safe, fun, high-energy and supportive environment; but it’s going to be educational and inspirational as well.”

The camp and show promise music and content for all ages and tastes.

This will be the third consecutive summer for the BELIEVE camp to take place in Washington Parish. The camp costs $60 per student and includes lunch and camp T-shirt that the students will wear for their culminating performance on Friday evening.

Sampson says he wants to share BELIEVE with every child possible. There are some scholarships available and churches, organizations and businesses are encouraged to help sponsor youth for this potentially-life-changing event. There are no talent or experience prerequisites. They encourage both the experienced and the first-timers to take part. Participants will also have the opportunity to perform part of their show again at the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24.

“These are some incredible, top-notch instructors who are passionate about using the arts to encourage youth and unite communities,” Sampson said. “I’ve worked them for years and have seen them make a real impact here and overseas. We are fortunate to have them here and the yong people here could definitely benefit from working with them.”

Sampson led a team earlier this year to China where they conducted successful BELIEVE camps and workshops in Shanghai and Nanchang.

Registration is now open on the www.believecamp.com website. Parents are encouraged to register students as soon as possible, so that Sampson and his team can properly prepare.

Parents have the option of paying online now or on the first day of camp, but they should signup online either way.  Last year, students who participated didn’t get their BELIEVE T-shirts in time for the show (partially because most people didn’t register in advance).

The camp is open to third- through 12th-grade students throughout the parish and surrounding areas. This includes 2016 graduates. The five-day camp will take place at Bogalusa High School and conclude with a big stage show for the community at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 1, in the auditorium.

The camp is being presented by the Washington Parish Community Arts Association and sponsored in part by International Paper, The City of Bogalusa, Magnolia Gardens Suites, Washington Men’s Club and Bogalusa City Schools.

Sampson is also seeking college-aged counselors to help the directors and adult volunteers to help with check-in, supervision during lunch, and dismissal. Anyone interested can email Sampson directly at bruce@iconarts.org or call 951-371-5239.