‘Believe’ was a success

Published 4:23 am Saturday, August 5, 2017

As the summer winds down to an end, I have to reflect on what a blessing it has been. Reflection also brings appreciation.

For the last four years, I have produced a week-long performing arts camp here and elsewhere called Believe Summer Camp Experience. It began as an idea for a one-time celebration of life and love with the goal of offering hope and unity to my hometown community. It has since grown into a multi-state and international series of projects.

From the beginning, I hoped that the community would get behind this effort and see it as more than something to keep the kids busy. My goals were and still are much loftier. Our mission statement is to “use the arts to engage, educate, inspire and unite youth and communities.” While it hasn’t yet happened on quite the scale that I have imagined and know is possible, I’ve been witness to some beautiful happenings these past few summers. I’ve seen friendships blossom, organizations formed, confidence built, hope restored and talents surface. It has been a blessing to be a part of this journey and to play a part in doing for others what my parents, teachers, and community leaders did for me in my youth.

What many don’t realize is just how much time, energy, resources and money it takes to pull off something like this. It also takes faith and trust and cooperation. The registration fees we charge (given the level of participation) would not cover our costs alone. We require the generosity and cooperation from a lot of people, organizations, businesses and institutions to make it work. I get a lot of credit for Believe camps, but without the trust of some amazing people in Bogalusa and Washington Parish, Believe would never happen.

And so, I’d like to take this time and space to thank everyone who contributed money, time, resources, talent and energy to support Believe Summer Camp Experience. They include (but are not limited to): The Washington Parish Community Arts Association, The City of Bogalusa, Bogalusa City Schools, International Paper, Magnolia Gardens Inn and Suites, Bogalusa Lions Club, Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival, YoYo’s Mexican Restaurant, Bino’s Seafood Restaurant, Bogalusa Grille, Red Zone Restaurant, House of Seafood, Golden Pear, Flo’s, Double D, Washington Men’s Club, Brennan’s Vending, Bryan and Debbie Baughman, Chrissy’s Restaurant, ESM United Methodist Church, Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, Ron and Claudia Seiger, Schultz Physical Therapy, Shonna Pierce, Yamato’s Japanese Restaurant, Delta Printing, Bryan Warner, Whit and Stacy Gallaspy, Sharon and Johnna Hartzog, and Our Lady of the Angels Hospital.

For anyone I’ve omitted, please charge it to my aging and overtaxed mind, and not my heart. Thank you all for believing! This is how change begins! Embrace the Possible! Believe!


Bruce Sampson, Founder and Director

ICON Performing Arts