Youth Program Overview
Caldera begins working with youth in 6th grade and stays with them for seven years, throughout middle school, high school, and into early adulthood. Caldera’s arts and nature focused programming and supportive mentoring aims to help Oregon youth: become creative change agents within their families and communities, achieve success academically, and transition to healthy, productive adulthood.
All of our programs are offered free of charge to the families, students, and schools that we serve. Our programming is not currently open to public enrollment and preference for our summer programming at Camp Caldera is given to students that attend one of our twelve Portland or Central Oregon Arts Partner middle schools and currently attend weekly mentoring sessions. Caldera does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, or physical ability.
View student work from the past school year on our Geography of We webpages. Additionally, we encourage current students to join our Caldera Student Facebook Group (only for current students and families) and past staff, teaching artists, and supporters to keep in touch by joining our Caldera Community Facebook Group.
Middle School Program
Caldera works with administrators, counselors, and teachers at our Arts Partner middle schools in Portland and Central Oregon to identify students who will most benefit from our consistent, long-term mentoring. Participating students work with our professional mentors during the school day in weekly classes designed to deepen their arts skills and environmental awareness, as well as their self-confidence and sense of community.
Our Arts Partner middle schools are those which have been identified as having a high percentage of low-income students. In the Portland Metro area, we partner with: H.B. Lee Middle School, Jason Lee K-8, Open School East, Open School North, Peninsula School K-8, and Reynolds. In Central Oregon, we work with: Elton Gregory Middle School (Redmond), Jefferson County Middle School (Madras), Obsidian Middle School (Redmond), Pilot Butte Middle School (Bend), Terrebonne Community School (Terrebonne), and Warm Springs K-8 Academy (Warm Springs).
Over the course of the school year, Caldera brings professional artists (often from our Artists in Residence Program) to each of our 12 Arts Partner middle schools for weeklong In-School Residencies. These residencies provide Caldera students (as well as many other students at the schools) the opportunity to learn from experts, explore their creativity, and develop skills in a variety of areas, such as poetry, drumming, filmmaking, photography. Student work is then featured through school-wide assemblies, presentations, or displays at the schools.
High School Program
Caldera’s high school students participate in multi-session hands-on learning workshops led by Caldera’s professional mentors, teaching artists, artists from our Artists in Residence Program, and our arts and environmental program partners. Additionally, our mentors lead special opportunities specifically for high school students to come together and attend local arts events, camping trips, and college tours.
Twice during the school year, we bring our middle and high school students together for “Mini-Camp” Weekend Intensives. In both Central Oregon and Portland, youth meet for a weekend of art and environmental workshops with professional artists and the mentors they know from school and camp. Past Intensives have featured workshops in drawing, printmaking, photography, and filmmaking.
Every summer, more than 150 youth from Portland and Central Oregon come to Camp Caldera to experience our transformational arts and nature camp. Located in Central Oregon near Sisters, our Arts Center sits on the shore of Blue Lake, amid 116 acres of forest. Here, students work with professional artists, environmental specialists, and mentors to develop their creative voices, deepen their connection to the environment, and grow together as a community.
Scholarships, Internships, and After Caldera
After high school graduation, Caldera students are offered ongoing support by our Young Adult Advocate, Meg Ball. Meg provides Caldera alumni with support and resources related to postsecondary education and career development. This includes assistance with resume and cover letter writing, accessing scholarships and financial aid, and more.
Additionally, after being a part of our Youth Program, Caldera alumni are eligible to apply for the Nancy Wilgenbusch Caldera Scholarship at Marylhurst University. Caldera also has a special partnership with the United States Forest Service called the Natural Resource Stewards Program. Participants can apply for paid summer internships with the USFS Sisters Ranger District, and gain firsthand experience of professions in the field of natural resource management.
We also host annual alumni parties to give staff and students an opportunity to reconnect and many alumni return to work at Camp Caldera as summer staff. In 2016, 23% of Camp Caldera staff were alumni!
For more information on how to stay connected to Caldera or to access our alumni resources, please contact Meg Ball at Meg.Ball@CalderaArts.org.