Artistree Receives Expanding Access Grant

New funding will enable Artistree to create additional summer 2023 children's programming.

In May Governor Phil Scott and Senator Bernie Sanders, together with Vermont Afterschool, announced the recipients of the Afterschool & Summer Expanding Access Grant program for the summers of 2022 and 2023 and the 2022–2023 school year. Artistree's grant application proposed establishing an additional satellite Artistree camp at Woodstock Elementary School for young children next summer.

Artistree has a long history of running arts-based camps for children in music, movement, and the visual arts. This summer, Artistree ran a total of 77 camps for children ages 3-15. The proposed camp will run in collaboration with the Woodstock Summer SOAK program, which is operated by the Windsor Central Supervisory Union (WCSU) and offers academic, service learning, and enrichment activities for students in grades 1-12.

For years, local parents have requested that SOAK add camps for children in kindergarten and preschool. Artistree, too, has seen the need for summer programs for this age range: every summer, the first Artistree camps to reach maximum enrollment are programs for ages 3-5.

Since 2014 Artistree has partnered with SOAK to provide arts enrichment options for their campers. The productive relationship between Artistree and SOAK, together with the younger-age camp need, inspired Artistree staff to apply for the Expanding Access Grant. The new program will be a 4-week arts-based Artistree camp serving rising kindergarteners. The goals of this program are to create more local summer camp slots, increase affordability and access for low-income families, and address student social/emotional and academic needs. Preschoolers will not be enrolled in the camp since grant funding is restricted to programs for children enrolled in grades K-12.

On May 19, the Office of Governor Phil Scott stated:

"A total of $4.23 million was awarded to 39 programs from 11 Vermont counties. Building off the successful 2021 Summer Matters grant initiative and the progress Vermont has made toward offering universal afterschool and summer programs, the Expanding Access Grants will continue to reduce gaps in Vermont’s current summer and afterschool system by addressing affordability, increasing availability, building long-lasting partnerships to promote sustainability, and piloting innovative approaches." (read the full press release here).

The Artistree and Summer SOAK staffs are grateful and excited to bring young Vermonters new summer opportunities that are fun and enriching. Registration for this program will open in spring 2023. As plans develop and details are finalized, WCSU and Artistree will share more information with our local community.