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Highland - June 1

Paula Campbell - Community Correspondent
Posted 6/1/21

I have recently come to realize that there is a lot of great events happening at Bethel Woods besides the famous music concerts we are all so used to attending.

I had a conversation with Laura …

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Highland - June 1

Posted

I have recently come to realize that there is a lot of great events happening at Bethel Woods besides the famous music concerts we are all so used to attending.

I had a conversation with Laura Burrell of Yulan, the Program Manager at Bethel Woods for the Museum Education and Creative Learning Programs Department. Laura outlined for me just some of the upcoming public educational opportunities which are great for our local kiddos to expand their cultural knowledge and experience.

Bethel Wood's E3 program is all about diverse performing arts and bringing visiting performance artists to our community to empower creativity through workshops in schools and out-of-school community performances. Other programming includes field trips to the Museum at Bethel Woods and the Events Gallery.

This summer there will be a special program, Bethel Woods on Main, at SUNY Sullivan which is essentially a traveling teaching artist program that examines the social, political, and economic issues of the 1960s and how the arts worked as an instrument for change, self-expression, building important collaborations with the purpose of making the arts more accessible to the broad range of communities.

It will bring together teaching artists, community groups, trained performing artists from all over the world and educators.

Laura told me that Bethel Woods will be hosting a multi-week camp-style experience for children and young adults from five years old to fifteen-years-old which will be divided into several different disciplines (art, dance, theater, and music). The camp begins in early July through mid-August. For the preteens there will be a Rock (as in rock and roll) Camp for aspiring songwriters, composers and those interested in musical theater.

Laura said as a trained sculptor herself and having grown up in a small rural community in Pennsylvania she understands the importance the arts can play in our lives. “I grew up in Slatington, a rural community much like my current hometown of Yulan, where on my sixteenth birthday like everyone else I got a rifle as a gift and spent many wonderful hours in the woods hunting with my dad and my uncle. Laura told me that there is a certain meditation to being in the woods and hunting that non hunters do not know about. My dad was the Town Mayor, and my mom was an entrepreneur, so the arts, education and community were always important to me. Before starting my position at Bethel Woods, I worked for a not-for-profit organization that sponsored a program called “Today's Students Tomorrow's Teachers which was a rural school-based initiative to identify and engage students at a young age to consider and prepare for a career in teaching. Because of this job Laura told me she probably visited every school in Sullivan County which has been very helpful in her position at Bethel Woods. “Life really is for learning” Laura told me and there are fees for some of the programs and more financial “sliding scales” than Santana uses when he is performing there and based on a participant's ability to pay as well as generous scholarships to make the programs truly available to everyone.

These Bethel Woods education programs present a wonderful chance for our local kids to engage in something truly magical and transformative this summer coming out of the horrendous lockdown we all just endured.

For more information about the programs visit bethelwoodscenter.org.

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