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High school students participate in UWSP art, music, videography camp


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- A busy week for some high school students attending a special arts camp will wrap up Saturday. It’s called Camp COFAC, hosted by the UW-Stevens Point College of Fine Arts and Communication.

Jennifer Hess is the Camp Manager of the three units of Camp COFAC. She says the high school age camp participants have a chance to learn new skills and meet new people.  “The artists, the musicians, and the videographers love what they do. They come with a great passion and a desire to learn. They’re all high school students looking to find an outlet for their creativity.”

Camp COFAC has been featured at UW Stevens Point for many years, and Hess says some past campers are back in a different role.   “We have some of our counselors, who were campers years ago, are now here as counselors. It comes full circle. They come to camp, they see the great facilities we have, and get to stay in the dorms and eat at the cafeteria, and look at the whole experience of what it’s like to be a college student.”

The three different units of Camp COFAC expose the students to equipment, art materials, and musical challenges they are not likely to see back home. Hess says the university has many of these resources, such as sculpture casting.   “They melt bronze at 2,000 degrees temperature and pour that into molds they created earlier in the week using clay. You won’t find that in any high schools, and also a lot of the video production. A lot of high schools are phasing that out as budget cuts are occurring, so they get a different perspective and different experience than they would at their home schools.”

Mark Buchman is a counselor teaching jazz ensemble musicians. He enjoys working with the high school and younger ages, because they are so receptive to new ideas and techniques. He says both the counselors and the other campers boost each other to reach new achievements and skill levels.   “We do positive reinforcement from the faculty end of things, but also, they build each other up, too, because they realize that they are all here because they want to be here. They’re not here because they have to be. It’s not a class that they have to take. They’ve chosen to come here, and I think they find that they’re surrounded by people who also love music just as much as they do.”

Buchman says the students enter camp with new challenges, and by the end of the week, they’ve really accomplished something.   “Not only to they make progress on the individual pieces, but they I think come away with a completely renewed sense of confidence about their ability.”

Hess also takes lots of pictures and posts them several times each day on their Facebook site, so that friends and family can see what the campers are doing.

The end of Camp COFAC is Saturday, when all three units of campers will show off their week’s worth of work to friends, family, and the general public. Hess says the viewings and performances start on the UW Stevens Point campus at 9:00 a.m.  “The videographers will be putting on their film and newscast in one of the lecture halls, and then there’s a full concert with all of our musicians, and then a full gallery showing for all of our artists.”

Registration for next year’s Camp COFAC takes place in the fall. More information will be available then through UW Stevens Point and also at many high school art and music departments.

(Click on the names to listen to our interviews with Mark Buchman and Jennifer Hess on our website.)