Storytelling school

Free UNI camp for middle schoolers to teach digital skills and tell stories about black families in northeast Iowa | Waverly Logs

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa will host a two-week Black Lives Matter Youth Camp in July and August for school-aged children that will focus on preserving the local history of Blacks through digital storytelling and imagery skills.

BLYC is all about discovering hidden African-American cultural resources in the Cedar Valley

and adding these resources to the Iowa African American Heritage Trail. As they research the Black history of Cedar Valley, camp participants will learn how to research and document stories of local African American pioneers and historic places in Cedar Valley.

BLYC students will also study safe routes for cyclists and pedestrians in the historic “Unity” black neighborhood of the City of Waterloo. BLYC students will help design a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood that will allow neighborhood residents and others to explore the neighborhood, exercise and enjoy the outdoors, said Co-Director Charles Pearson, who leads the Iowa African American Heritage Trail project.

In their investigation of local black family histories, camp participants will learn how to professionally digitize family photographs, create photomontages and digital animations using the family photos they scan, and conduct site visits related to the family stories they learn. Students will also have the opportunity to cycle on the UNI campus and on the Cedar Valley bike paths.

“The camp is as much about creativity and digital skills as it is about black history,” said co-director Joshua Mitchell. Mitchell teaches Interactive Digital Studies courses at UNI. “We’re going to have fun bringing it all together – getting kids excited about local history, getting their creativity flowing, and giving them the opportunity to learn about digility.”

The camp’s all-black staff are made up of UNI teachers and student counsellors. The two-week day camp will meet July 25-29 and August 1-4, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the UNI campus. Camp is free, with lunch and snacks also provided. There is a maximum of 20 camp participants, with first-come, first-served registration. To apply, contact Bettina Fabos, Professor of Interactive Digital Studies at UNI, at [email protected]

Chiquita Loveless, Director of UNI’s Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice, recalled a camp experience like this as a child and how it changed her life.

“We are going to do it right. It will benefit the children and the community as they will know where we come from and why it is so important to be and do your best at all times,” she said.

The camp is made free for students through the generous sponsorship of the Guernsey Foundation of Waterloo and the Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice at the University of Northern Iowa.