Children receiving mental health services from Kinship Center in the King City Clinic had the unique opportunity to engage in an Expressive Art Summer Camp. The King City Expressive Art Summer Camp offered children experiencing trauma and loss a chance to enjoy indoor and outdoor activities in a safe and supervised environment. The 4-day camp took place from June 18-22 for underserved children of South Monterey County ranging in ages from 6 to 16. The camp was developed with the intention to help children experiencing trauma and loss have a safe space to process their thoughts and feelings while increasing their awareness of their strengths and coping skills, and building community within their peer groups to prevent isolation. The camp provided participants with a different perspective of therapy that is fun and motivating in a group format.

The Expressive Art Summer Camp was as educational as it was fun. The children were able to practice teamwork, interpersonal skills, collaboration with peers, empathy, acceptance, problem solving skills, leadership skills, negotiation skills, self-expression, self-regulation, and communication skills while experiencing a summer camp environment with other children and adults. The children were able to engage in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. The four days were full of indoor activities such as cooking, mask making, creating journals, face painting and planning and creating carnival games. Some of the outdoor activities included a scavenger hunt, water play, water balloons and carnival game booths. All activities took place under the supervision of trained therapists and family support counselors.

Throughout the camp participants were motivated to participate in the activities as staff distributed tickets for teamwork, positive interactions and participation. On the final day participants were able to take their tickets and exchange them for prizes. Participants were treated to a pizza party in recognition of their hard work and dedication and they were given the opportunity to express their feelings about the camp. At the end of camp participants were able to show their creations like the carnival booth that they created in collaboration with peers to their family members.

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