Origin of the Project:
In March 2016, RHCC Board member Fern Gitter contacted the Program manager of the York Region Boys and Girls Clubs, Adrian Bain to see if there would be interest in establishing “Camera Club“ as an activity at the Boys and Girls Clubs. Once a keen interest was established, a committee was struck at RHCC and fund raising at our Year End Banquet was designated towards raising money for the project. Together with some funds from our 2015 fund raising efforts, approximately $4000 was raised to start the project. Our first meeting was held in June 2016 and we divided into two subcommittees: a program development committee and an equipment committee to explore and purchase appropriate photographic equipment. We worked closely with Melissa Fairey, the Program Development Assistant of the Boys and Girls Clubs of York Region.
The equipment committee (headed by Harvey Rogers) determined that three different types of camera could meet the needs of the varied ages (6-13 years).Some accessories were also obtained including a couple of external flashes, cable releases, SD cards, batteries, a battery charger, 8 gadget bags, tripods and some filters.
Special prices and some donations were received with the help of Henry’s, Gentec and Mark Wolfson, Kathy Constantinou and Eric Azeez. Many thanks to all involved.
The equipment was ready to go by the end of August and a Contract was signed stating that the equipment belonged to the Boys and Girls Clubs of York Region so long as Camera Club Programming is active in any club. If such programming discontinued in the future, the equipment would revert to the RHCC.
Program Planning: After discussion with Melissa Fairey and our Committee, it was decided that a “Train-the-Trainer Model” should be combined with a “Hands on Mentoring Model” for programming. Our Programming committee headed by Bruce Carmody worked through the summer developing guidelines and references for the Trainers (the leaders who were going to be leading the camera club activities) as well as a list of activities that the leaders could use with the children.
Member, June D’Souza took on developing a list of willing mentors who could attend the Boys and Girls Clubs when requested by the leaders.
The program began in October after a couple of sessions training the leaders. It began at two different locations and continued throughout the year. The flavour at each centre was a little different:
- Park Avenue Public School, Camera Club included a lot of portraits, working in different lights and incorporating their photography into physical activity including stop motion and even some slow motion videos.
- At Phoebe Gilman lessons focussed on ”Camera Club Scavenger Hunt” which incorporated textures, light and angles, action shots and different perspectives and frames and playing with different colours and black and white.
All of the children at the centers took part, sharing the available cameras, some being the photographers and others being the subjects. Melissa reported that the kids really enjoyed the Camera Club and looked forward to it each week. One of our RHCC mentors felt the kids learned best when given feedback about their photos…what was good and what could be improved and why.
In the Spring, as the RHCC was thinking about its yearly fundraiser, Melissa was asked if the Boys and Girls Club needed any more support. She replied that they would love to expand into other sites. Our RHCC members were so supportive of the Fundraiser for this expansion that we raised close to $4000 at our May Banquet Auction and our committee is once again at work deciding what equipment to purchase etc. It turns out that the simplest cameras were those used the most! Melissa also told us that the Program would be run at a special program to be held this summer for Syrian Refugee children.
If you love kids and you love photography and you can spare some time in the afternoons between 3:00 and 5:30, you can get on our Mentors list. Locations include Maple, Woodbridge, Newmarket, East Gwillimbury, Holland Landing and Keswick. Involvement can be ongoing, once a week, once a month or a onetime visit. June D’Souza and are working together to build this list as the program is expanding and we hope lots of members will sign up. See Teresa and or June at our meetings or email if you are interested in volunteering.