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June & July 2023


Hello ECM Families,

Actress and Musician Zooey Deschanel said it best, “I hate camping, but I love summer camp.”  This summer, 1,253 students in 10 school districts experienced music, theatre, dance, visual arts, and so much more during our Summer STEAM Institute.  

While many of the campers experienced dance or theatre for the very first time, others dipped their toes into entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and careers in the arts.  

Teachers in all ten districts learned new arts integration teaching strategies during their collaborative working sessions and told us they plan to implement these lessons in the next school year.  

Each district reported high attendance, engagement, and enthusiasm at camp every single day.  A Hampton County student was so determined to come to camp he called the school when his bus didn’t arrive one morning! 

We are so grateful to the state legislators, the SC Arts Commission, SC Department of Education, and Arts Grow SC for investing in our mission so we could provide these memorable experiences to so many this summer. 


As we reflect on ECM’s Summer STEAM Institute® adventures in each county, we are grateful for the incredible memories and the indelible impact of the arts on our campers’ lives. Instructors and campers alike truly embraced the ECM mantra of innovation, design, and creativity, and they whole-heartedly adopted our WOOHOO spirit. 


Thank you so much to Arts Grow SC for supporting our work and helping us to expand our reach! Arts Grow SC is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Department of Education through American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds.


Until next year!!!

In Allendale County, we were thrilled to have the entire community embrace the arts with us this summer! From building incredible robots to launching marshmallow shooters and paper airplanes, our campers were on a mission to explore the fascinating world of science and engineering. And that’s not all! They immersed themselves in the cultural dances of Dubai, Italy, and Jamaica, built robots, unleashed their coding skills, painted breathtaking seasonal scenes, and even collaborated to construct cotton ball launchers. They also incorporated movement and sign language into a mind-blowing musical performance and created mesmerizing stars with clothespins. Campers ended by flexing their coding prowess, guiding their camp counselors through an epic course that they designed themselves. It was a summer of exploration, creativity, and boundless fun!

In Bamberg, campers unleashed their inner entrepreneurs, creating a bustling “school store” filled with their very own products. Leadership, self-awareness, and financial literacy took center stage as they learned valuable skills while exploring their passions. From fabric screening techniques to sculpting jewelry out of clay, they left no stone unturned in their pursuit of success! Campers also worked their magic with sublimation techniques, designing and creating personalized keychains and other amazing items. They also had fun with Shrinky Dink, where they transformed their hand-drawn images into miniature works of art. They even used pottery to craft pieces that would soon be fired in the kiln, leaving them with a sense of accomplishment and a treasure trove of entrepreneurial skills. It was a summer of imagination, creativity, and the entrepreneurial spirit that knows no bounds!

In Barnwell, campers gave a spirited performance of “Little Red Riding Hood” while ELA came alive as campers used adjectives to describe themselves and created collages that were a true reflection of their unique personalities. They combined ELA and the arts by capturing imagery in poetry and collaboratively creating dramatic responses to poetry. And the beat went on as our campers learned to create and produce their own music using the software Sound TrapThe music continued as they learned to play the Bomba rhythm on African drums, infusing their summer with a touch of Puerto Rican inspiration. Their artistic journey continued by experimenting with oil pastels and watercolors to create beautiful flowers and stunning landscapes. It was a summer of artistic expression, music, and imagination!

In Calhoun, campers delved into the captivating realms of podcasting and advertising, igniting their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Picture this: our talented campers created an incredible skit about their favorite animals embarking on an epic hot air balloon adventure. Talk about talent! Book characters came to life as they wrote and drew their own stories. In the magical world of broadcasting and podcasting, our campers scripted and recorded their very own commercials, captivating audiences with their charm and wit. They also stepped into the enchanting world of fairy tales, decorating masks and collaborating on an awe-inspiring art project. Oh, and let’s not forget the fun with watercolors, oil pastels, and the rhythmic beats of drums. It was a whirlwind of creativity and discovery!
In Clarendon, campers took on exciting challenges that sparked their curiosity and unleashed their creativity. They competed with enthusiasm to create the longest chain, observing the unique characteristics of each link and sharpening their math skills along the way. The world of music came alive as they explored tempo and rhythm, following along to music tracks with their trusty Boomwhackers. And the vibrant world of art embraced them as they dived into the realms of cool and warm tones, experimenting with a variety of mediums from pastels to watercolor. Their masks became works of art, and rollercoasters came to life as they tested different engineering designs with marbles. Campers let their creativity flow through pastels and watercolors, explored the fascinating world of magnets, created sculptures with found materials, and manipulated parachutes into different formations. It was a summer of discovery, creativity, and the thrill of learning through art!

In Colleton County, campers took flight as they combined the worlds of science and art. They crafted paper helicopters that soared through the air. Physics was their ally as they discovered the key features that made their airplanes soar to new heights. Then they joined forces to create a volcanic masterpiece, exploring different musical instruments and drawing the shapes they saw in the instruments. And the heroes rose as our campers created their own superheroes, crafting stories that showcased their incredible superpowers and the people they helped.They even created superhero call lights to signal their heroic presence. Rockets were launched, contests were held, and the spirit of exploration soared high. Campers dove into the captivating world of light and shadows, understanding how light passes through materials and how the placement of a flashlight corresponds to the position of the sun throughout the day. Story arcs took shape as campers created their own storyboards, while 1st graders brought shapes to life with constructor straws. And 4th graders embarked on a captivating journey, creating mixed media models of the butterfly life cycle. Throughout it all, our high school instructors provided robust arts experiences and had a blast while learning themselves. It was a summer of scientific marvels, artistic triumphs, and creative exploration!

In Dorchester School District 4, campers left a lasting artistic legacy by creating a jaw-dropping mural for their new Woodland Middle School. With their incredible understanding of symbolism, they crafted a design that symbolically represented the merging of two schools. The mascots of both schools joined hands in the center, surrounded by circles representing the powerful connections between them. Guided by the extraordinary ECM Instructor, Gina Bean, our campers embarked on a mind-blowing journey into the world of special effects, just like on a movie set! They transformed into true artists, adding a touch of magic to their creations.
In Hampton County, we witnessed a fashion frenzy as our campers designed their own stylish shoes, while our junior counselors showcased their dress designs on glamorous mannequins. Our little artists in Kindergarten Music class drew the coolest maracas and adventurous 1st graders embarked on an epic treasure hunt! As we celebrated the 4th of July, campers unleashed their artistic talents by creating incredible art pieces that represented the true meaning of this special holiday. They shared their masterpieces, discussed techniques, and even tackled mind-boggling puzzle games together. And not to mention, our junior counselors became dance maestros, mastering choreography with the amazing Sydni Shaffer from Estill! They also blended art with ELA by creating self-portraits performing action verbs during their dynamic Creative Writing class. It was a whirlwind of creativity and fun!

In Jasper, campers showcased their incredible talent and boundless energy. From the electrifying step class with brainstorming sessions full of choreography magic to the mesmerizing world of pastels and watercolors, they created masterpieces that leapt off the canvas. The creative energy was infectious as they collaborated and thought critically to build drones, simulating the exhilaration of flight take-off and landing. And the magic of music filled the air as they created musical enchantment with handmade instruments and the rhythmic wonder of Boomwhackers. Drama took center stage as campers recreated scenes from the beloved book, Dyamonde Daniel, using the art form of tableau. Campers experienced the thrill of sound as a vibration, rehearsed fractured fairy tales with creative twists, and transformed their canvases into food masterpieces using the vibrant strokes of oil pastels. It was a summer of artistic brilliance, innovation, and the pure joy of creativity!

In Orangeburg, the air was filled with excitement as campers learned unique dances from various cultures, created origami protein channels, and mastered the art of media as they designed business cards, flyers, and captivating presentations for their very own business ideas. Campers celebrated Juneteenth by piecing together puzzle pieces that represented their vibrant and unique personalities. With each piece, they celebrated their individuality and the beautiful way they all fit together. Their grand finale was an unforgettable banquet, planned and executed by the event planning class, which showcased the creativity and hard work of all campers. It was a feast for the senses, where imagination and innovation took center stage!
In Sumter County, daring campers took on the challenge of designing their very own roller coasters, putting their engineering skills to the test to create the ultimate thrill ride. There’s more – they dove deep into the world of emotions, drama, and creative writing, exploring their inner selves and the wonders of the world around them. Armed with various mediums, campers created 3D illustrations of their bedrooms. They also donned drama masks to express their unique personalities and shared their feelings through the power of creative writing. It was an explosion of self-expression, imagination, and pure joy!