Camp Imagination – 2017

Camp Logo with Children's Peace Center.jpg

July 24th to August 4th 2017
9:00 AM to 3:30 PM
217 North Carey Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21223

Camp Imagination is a two week, tuition-free summer program for elementary- and middle school-aged children in West Baltimore’s Franklin Square/Poppleton community. The program focuses on students who are either behind in reading or who need a boost in their motivation to read. Camp Imagination inspires a love of reading and writing through the visual and performing arts.

This year the theme of camp is “Lift Every Voice.” Throughout the day campers will learn and practice literacy skills through poetry and other texts that are connected to the theme. They will write original pieces as an expression of their own hopes and dreams, as well as struggles and challenges. Campers will present these written pieces orally though musical arrangements, spoken word, recitation, and song, enhancing the Common Core English Language Arts standards through the National Core Arts standards. They will have two field trips that connect with the theme. In addition, campers will host and participate in an Open Mic Night Poetry Slam on the first Friday of camp. Then, at the end of the two weeks, campers will host a Variety Show for family, friends, and the community to “lift their voices” in celebration of their hard work and accomplishments.

Camp Imagination is a place where imagination, creativity, fun, and literacy go hand-in-hand. It is our hope that each child leaves camp with a love of reading and writing, along with an enthusiasm for learning that will last a lifetime.

Volunteer, Contribute, Inspire…Change a Life!

For more information contact:

Amanda Talbot 410-340-1251

Community Garden Update: Sept. 8, 2016

Last night, the garden was vandalized…

We have many happy memories of the 2016 garden:  its flowers and vegetables; the ways it showed us the growth of seeds into incredible mature plants with just air, water, soil, sunlight and care; the ways it brought the church people, the NorthStar volunteers, and the community together.

We will start planning our next steps.

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Community Garden Update: August 29, 2016–Praying Mantis

In the garden on this calm cool morning, sitting atop the tomato plant was a beautiful praying mantis.


Here is more on this lovely insect.

“The Praying Mantis is one of the most loved of the insect world to humans and one of the most feared to other insects.

It is extremely beneficial to gardens and humans because of its penchant for eating the things that bug us. They will eat mites, aphids and most other insects that are within the grasp of their front legs.

The praying mantis is related to grasshoppers and crickets, belonging to a family of insects called orthoptera.  They have, like their cousin the grasshopper, mouths which have parts designed to chew and very distinct wings.”

“Animal Symbolism: Meaning of the Praying Mantis

The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. Usually the mantis makes an appearance when we’ve flooded our lives with so much business, activity, or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us because of the external din we’ve created.

After observing this creature for any length of time you can see why the symbolism of the praying mantis deals with stillness and patience. The mantis takes her time, and lives her life at her own silent pace.

These traits have lead the mantis to be a symbol of meditation and contemplation. In fact, in China, the mantis has long been honored for her mindful movements. The mantis never makes a move unless she is 100% positive it is the right thing for her to do. This is a message to us to contemplate and be sure our minds and souls all agree together about the choices we are making in our lives.

Overwhelmingly in most cultures the mantis is a symbol of stillness. As such, she is an ambassador from the animal kingdom giving testimony to the benefits of meditation, and calming our minds.

An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quite and reach a place of calm. It may also a sign for you to be more mindful of the choices you are making and confirm that these choices are congruent.”


Community Garden Update: August 18, 2016

Our plants are growing amazingly well.  View some of the “firsts,” below:  First sunflower,  first pumpkin, first cucumber, first herbs, first salad….


Note Franklin Square Community’s colorful sunflower mural in far background.



By August 16, the sunflowers were taller than our volunteers! Quite an accomplishment!

St. Luke’s Back to School Rally Wish List

The St. Luke’s Post Back to School Rally is taking place on Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 12-3pm on the church grounds and we need your help to make this event a success. This is an opportunity for our youth and community to celebrate a successful start to the 2016-2017 school year. It will be open to the public and there will be food, music, and activities for attendees to enjoy. Here’s how you can help:

Donations will be accepted for:

  • New, unopened school supplies
  • New and gently used elementary and middle school reading books
  • New and gently used uniforms of all colors and sizes
  • Charcoal and lighter fluid for grill
  • Garbage bags
  • Gloves for handling food
  • Refreshments
  • Face painting kit

Volunteers will be needed the day of to (volunteer for an hour or two or the whole event):

  • Man the grill
  • Man the cotton candy machine
  • Man the popcorn machine
  • Set up and break down tables
  • Photograph the event
  • Face paint
  • Man the giveaway table(s)
  • Man the food table(s)

Sponsorship opportunities (cover the cost of one of these and have your name or organization name highlighted as an event sponsor):

  • Snowball stand $250
  • Moon bounce $400
  • Supplies for cotton candy and popcorn machines $150
  • DJ $ 150

Thank you in advance for your generosity. Please contact Shannon ( or 410-710-4018) or Trivia ( or 410-523-6272) to donate, volunteer, sponsor, or for more information.

Shannon McCullough

Camp Imagination Update: August 5, 2016–Day 5

  1. Day 5:  Field Trip to Visionary Arts Museum and Grand Art Opening

We went by bus to the Visionary Arts Museum early on Friday morning.  The campers created Hope Chests, in which they placed their hopes on slips of paper.  40


“A good future” is the hope

The campers were thrilled to actively explore The Visionary Arts Museum with all its treasures.

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A picnic lunch followed on the top of Federal Hill.  During the visit and lunch, volunteers were busy transforming the undercroft of the church into an art gallery.

After time for a rest back at camp, the Grand Art Opening began at 4:30.  Children greeted their guests and walked them through the amazing display of their work created over the week of Camp Imagination.



One of our campers reading Something Beautiful to her little brother at the Grand Art Opening


Our THANKS to our Director, Amanda Talbot, our Artistic Director and Consultant, Kathy Gardner, and our leader, Father Van Gardner









Campers pictured with half of our volunteers.  Note the saying from the Talmud: “Call them not your children. Call them your builders.”



Camp Imagination Update: August 4, 2016–Day 4

Day 4:  August 4, 2016—The World Changes

When we arrived, the entrance to the undercroft had been changed!  The fence weavings that we completed on Day 3, were hanging at the entrance declaring our theme:  CHANGE


On Day 4, the theme, The World Changes, was illustrated by reading “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss.  Message:  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

Ms. Kathy demonstrated how to paint clay flower pots and the campers painted them in preparation for planting a philodendron to take home and care for.


After lunch we learned how to make large and small truffula trees from “The Lorax.”   We read “Good People Everywhere,” and made tags for our trees with messages about the good people in our lives, our communities, and our world.  These were gifts to be handed out to our families and guests at the Art Opening on Day 5.


Camp Imagination Update: August 3, 2016–Day 3

Day 3:   Communities Change

When we arrived, we found our art from Day 1 that we had changed into hands with positive feelings on Day 2 had been further changed into  leaves on our tree!  Check out the many positive feelings that fill our buckets.



Click to view full size and see the positive emotions

Day 3 focus for readings and activities was Communities Change.  We began the morning with a story about identifying beauty in the things around us, “Something Beautiful.”  Our five groups embarked on seeking Beauty on a photo scavenger hunt through the neighborhood.  We found beauty everywhere we looked!


Ms. Kathy helped us identify the elements of house architecture, and we drew and developed houses that were our dream houses.  These will become our dream community tomorrow.


Finally, we worked on a weaving project to change the letters, C-H-A-N-G-E, into fabric fence art that will be posted at the church.  By the end of the day, we were well on our way to completion.