June 2022–Now, when summer comes to mind, think of SOUNDS Academy’s Summer Camp! For the first time since being established in 2014, SOUNDS Academy hosted its inaugural overnight music Summer Camp. From June 13 to June 17, SOUNDS Academy’s students were up north at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. It was a welcomed break from the Phoenix heat. Each day of the camp was dedicated to a specific SOUNDS Academy Character Value – creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork. The program included solo lessons, group lessons, a 2.2 miles hike through the Grand Canyon, swimming, and character building activities. “This was a unique camp because while it focused on music it also focused on character development and on making sure the kids had fun,” says SOUNDS Academy Founder and CEO, Kirk Johnson. SOUNDS Academy student, Callie, agreed that the goal for fun was achieved. “That was the most fun camp I have ever been too. I had never been on a college campus before which was really cool and the weather was nice,” Callie said.
Callie and others observed other benefits as well. “I think the camp went really well and I think the parents really enjoyed the change that they saw in their kids,” says Amanda Gonzales, SOUNDS Academy’s Program Manager. “A lot of the kids stepped into their personalities and were more alive in their love of music,” Gonzales continued.
The Summer Camp was made possible by a generous $60,000 grant awarded by the Ellis Center for Educational Excellence, an Arizona Community Foundation (ACF) Supporting Organization. Together, SOUNDS Academy and ACF were pursuing the ambitious goal to bring a unique music education opportunity this summer to underserved youth in the Phoenix Metro Area.
After an active week of perseverance and creativity, the summer camp concluded with a concert by the students performing pieces they learned during camp for parents, family, and the community at large, live at Yavapai College and simultaneously streamed on YouTube. Plans are already underway for next year’s summer camp. All are invited to stay-tuned and follow SOUNDS Academy on social media for details.