“I will not use the word can’t to define my possibilities.”
— AileyCamp Daily Affirmation
AileyCamp is an innovative summer program designed to serve inner-city children in grades six through eight, ages 11-14. It does not serve as a training ground for professional dancers, but rather uses dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem, self-discipline, creative expression and critical thinking skills.
Founded by Alvin Ailey and the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey in 1989, AileyCamp targets students with academic, social and domestic challenges, but also welcomes students who have little opportunity to develop their artistic interests. An important aspect of the program’s success is in providing positive adult and peer role models, and giving campers an invaluable opportunity to explore their creativity, learn to master their bodies, and strengthen their respect for themselves and others within a supportive framework that gives them an important foundation for the future.
The AileyCamp curriculum includes:
- Daily technique classes in ballet, Horton-based modern dance, jazz dance and tap dance
- Personal development classes: goal setting, nutrition, conflict/resolution, career development and self-image
- Creative communications classes: with performance techniques, deepen the students’ awareness for self-expression
AileyCamp The Group is a special follow-up program for campers to reinforce and expand upon the meaningful experience of the summer program.
“The most important moment in a child’s education is the ‘crystallizing experience’ — the experience that helps a young person focus, engage and deeply connect to something he or she cares about.”
— Howard Gardner, noted educator
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey’s AileyCamps are early intervention programs in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missourifor urban core, middle school youth, ages 11-14. The unique summer program provides a platform for prevention and youth development before negative patterns become a consistent behavior. Dance is the primary inspiration for camp activities that build life skills that are necessary to achieve. To ensure we reach the children who most need camp, each Camper receives a full tuition scholarship, as well as uniforms, meals and transportation free of charge. The great success of AileyCamp, lead KCFAA to develop a second phase to the program, called AileyCamp/The Group, This program, an extension of the AileyCamp curriculum, offers an after camp experience for young people ages 12-18 and encourages camp graduates to continue learning in a year-round program of dance classes, performance opportunities and field trips around the region.
Beginning in the summer of 1999, qualitative pre and post evaluations are administered by Kansas University-Dole Human Development Center graduate and post graduate students under the direction of Michael C. Roberts, Ph.D., Kansas University Professor, Applied Behavioral Science. The evaluation process was developed with theDoleCenterfor Human Development at the University of Kansasexclusively for AileyCamp.
The “Dole Measurement” is designed to measure the effectiveness of the AileyCamp curriculum and staff as it relates to Campers lives, many of which are at risk for violence and substance abuse. In addition, the evaluation helps KCFAA learn more about their campers and their families in order to provide the best AileyCamp experience possible.
The surveys ask caregivers and campers questions about:
- Background information about the family and camper
- How much support (emotional and economic) the family and camper feel they receive, and where they would turn if they needed help
- How well the camper and his or her caregivers get along
- The way the camper thinks, acts, and feels, as well as his or her sleep habits and level of aggression
- The stressful events the camper has experienced
- The risk behaviors the camper may or may not engage in
- The knowledge and attitudes the camper has about drugs and alcohol
- The camper and the family’s satisfaction with the AileyCamp experience
At the beginning and at the conclusion of camp, AileyCampers completed The Children’s Hope Scale (Snyder, 1997), the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (Harter, 1988), and the Exposure to Violence Questionnaire.
As would be expected for this subset of inner-city children, descriptive information collected by measures and in focus groups indicated that AileyCampers had witnessed high rates of violence and drug activities in their communities, thus confirming the notion that collectively these campers are at risk for the development of such risk behaviors.
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System was administered to gain a better understanding of campers experience with drugs and alcohol. A four- month follow-up for AileyCamps 1999 and 2000 indicates that campers are not increasing experimentation or regular use of drugs and alcohol as would be expected for adolescents from similar backgrounds. Camp graduates reported a decrease in regular smoking behavior in the preceding month at four-month follow-up when compared with pre-camp levels (5.8% vs. 2.4 AileyCamp has also been evaluated five times by Dr. Carol Fineberg and Charles E. Wilson of C.F. Associates, arts and education consultants fromNew York. Dr. Fineberg is a curriculum specialist and helped with the original design of AileyCamp in 1989. Her evaluations are qualitative and address environment, staff, planning, training, execution, curriculum and scheduling. Dr. Fineberg has helped to strengthen the camp process and experience>
At the end of AileyCamp, Campers reported a highly significant increase in their skill levels in AileyCamp curriculum subjects, including ballet, tap dance, jazz dance, modern dance, creative writing, and percussion music skills. More than 80% of Campers reported that they would take dance classes again if given the opportunity. The post camp survey also reported a significant increase in Camper’ jingles ability to develop and find pathways to achieve goals.
AileyCamp has also been evaluated five times by Dr. Carol Fineberg and Charles E. Wilson of C.F. Associates, arts and education consultants fromNew York. Dr. Fineberg is a curriculum specialist and helped with the original design of AileyCamp in 1989. Her evaluations are qualitative and address environment, staff, planning, training, execution, curriculum and scheduling. Dr. Fineberg has helped to strengthen the camp process and experience.
|Camp Wish List:|
|15 Six-Week Camperships @$1,200 each||$18,000|
|200 AileyCamp Uniforms (tights, shorts, bag, leotard) @$42 each||$8,400|
|50 Tap Shoes @$35 each||$1,750|
|180 Ballet Slippers @$12 each||$2,160|
|360 Camp T-Shirts @$5 each||$1,800|
Make a Donation
In order to be eligible to be matched, gifts must be charitable donations made to Camps For Kids and must be received by Camps For Kids between April 1st and July 31st. Single contributions are only matched up to $1,500.
1714 E 18th Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 471-6003 Ext. 3