By Anni Beach, President of Jam Pak Band

Jam Pak is so grateful for the grant from the Arnold Shultz Fund to help with the expenses of the three-day Bluegrass Summer Camp with Jam Pak. This is the first time we have done this, and we consider this a prototype for the future. Every effort was extended to make the camp a highly successful event, and everyone involved learned and enjoyed the experience.

On June 27-29, 2023, from 2:30 -8:00 p.m., 40 children and adults, including both participants and coaches, filled the Beach house and small buildings on the property. Activities such as singing, harmony, songwriting, rhythm and history, ukulele, introduction to harmonica, individual bluegrass instrument practice on the camp song (“Somewhere Between”), and mic skills were taught. Good snacks and wonderful dinners were prepared each day by volunteer parents. The children ranged in age from six years old to seniors in high school. The final day was spent in a larger home of a band member and concluded with a Showcase of Skills, followed by a band scramble and a presentation of certificates and a blessing. It was truly inspirational!

We did not reach out to include new children from the neighborhood, as there was no room to accommodate more bodies. We will be addressing this next summer by including more homes. We intend to keep the camp home-based, as this is the most productive use of funds and energy.

The overall cost of the program was approximately $2,800. The majority of funding was used for stipends paid to 16 coaches. Of the 16 coaches, 10 were people of color, with five African American and five Latino. One of our coaches was Sule Greg Wilson, a well-known historian, entertainer and musician. We were blessed to have him join in for the three days. We received a grant for $1,500 from the Arnold Shultz Fund and $1,000 from the City of Chandler Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. Jam Pak Band took care of all other expenses.

With great gratitude!

Anni Beach

Return to the August, 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.