A current junior at Newbury Park High School, Taylor Burke noticed that the arts and crafts cabin at Camp Gilmore needed some extra attention. Camp Gilmore, a nonprofit Salvation Army camp, serves thousands of underserved youth every summer and relies on donations to fund the camp. Because they often do not have the necessary means to complete new projects, the craft cabin had been neglected for nearly 30 years. Taylor recognized how she could make a contribution to her community and made plans for renovations.
“The craft cabin had not been a priority because [the camp’s] funds needed to go toward staffing and sleeping cabins,” Taylor said. “In addition, campers attend camp for free, so their budget for buildings is very limited. Normally when anyone sees the cabin it looks abandoned, yet the campers use it every summer. That is not how children should feel when they see the cabin they’re supposed to be creative in. My goal [was] to allow them to finally feel like they’re in a true crafts cabin that gives them the fun and creativity they deserve.”
By Christmas caroling in her community with her troop, selling Girl Scout cookies, and helping run a local Girl Scout camp, Taylor was able to raise $350 for her project. She used her funds to purchase supplies that would revamp the cabin.
Taylor began the renovation process by cleaning and washing the cabinets, which were littered with graffiti. She painted window sills, walls, bookcases, cabinets, and added a space where students could draw on the wall with chalkboard paint. Using various bins purchased through her fundraising, she organized and labeled the cabin’s contents until it was completely transformed. In total, the renovation process took over 80 hours to complete.
“Before renovating the cabin, it was very uninspiring,” Taylor said. “The entire cabin was filled with graffiti, mouse droppings, trash, dust, dirt, and piled up boxes. In any creative space, an uninspiring and atmosphere negatively affects creativity. I hope that the children can finally appreciate the new cabin and be inspired to use it. They deserve to have a creative and inspiring space, and that is what I hope to bring them with this project.”
The cabin will be maintained by the employees of Camp Gilmore and the Girl Scouts that rent the camp each year. Taylor left behind painting supplies with directions so that the crafts cabin manager can easily do touch-ups. S created a blog where she discusses her project and its impact, details the supplies she used, outlines simple art projects, and educates others on how to renovate creative spaces. To see a video of the cabin before and after Taylor’s project, view here.
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