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Imagination Club at the Bellefonte Youth Center

Imagination Club at the Bellefonte Youth Center is a dynamic creative writing & visual arts program that invites Bellefonte youth to explore their inner and outer worlds. Expanding our notions of what counts as literacy, in weekly workshops we tell and act out stories; create visual art; take field trips and engage in place-based writing; and use audio recording equiptment to capture our collaborative poems. These workshops are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of learning styles, personalities, experiences, and interests among the students who come through the doors at BYC.

Ridgelines is honored to collaborate on this program with the BYC, an outreach of the Youth Service Bureau which provides a safe, supervised environment for kids where they can be with friends, get a snack or a meal, find help with homework, and participate in fun and meaningful programming.

 

Some of our field trips and place-based writing have included trips to The Crooked House in Milesburg, the Bellefonte Art Museum, Bonfatto's Corner Cafe, the gardens at St. John's Episcopal Church, and Curtin Village. We also take exploratory walks around Bellefonte and have visited with anglers from the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Talleyrand Park. These trips not only foster connection between students and their local community, but culminate in student poetry exhibitions in spaces like Bonfatto's and Schlow Library. In this way, the program is multi-directional, aiming not only to introduce students to new aspects of their society, but also to strenghten our society through the inventive, exhuberant, and insightful voices of local youth.

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Teaching Artist Abby Minor makes paper animals with BYC youth

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I'm a Dance Party_BYC 2023

Previous iterations of Imagination Club

Imagination Club started out in 2018 as a pilot program called Write Outside, an annual summer program for low-income children in collaboration with the Bellefonte Youth Center. Taught by local Teaching Artist and poet Anne Burgevin for three summers, Write Outside nurtured participants' awareness of the outdoor world as they learned to be still and listen, scavenge for colors, textures, and sights, notice plant and animal life, and choose words to express their discoveries. Write Outside workshops consisted of weekly outdoor writing adventures in parks, forests, and nature education centers throughout the region for children who attend the BYC. Ridgelines is honored to have worked with Burgevin to get this program off the ground, as we continue to evolve our collaborations with the Bellefonte Youth Center and work with the wonderful, vivavious youth who come through their doors.

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