The Rev. Esme J. R. Culver, Director
The Great thou Art Camp Esme Culver launched The Great thou Art Camp in 2016 after 10 years as Director of Grace Art Camp since her arrival at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church in 2006. During that time, Esme grew the camp from 750 campers served in five weeks to 1,200 served in seven weeks. The camp became highly self-sufficient, hiring approximately 130 staff, counselors and artists each summer. She served as a bridge builder between Grace Institute and Grace Parish via youth leadership programs and by leading youth service mission trips from Grace Parish and Grace Institute from the inner urban conclaves of Philadelphia to the villages of Eastern Africa and to a remote valley in Peru.
The first Grace Art Camp Kenya was established in 2013 and the Kenyan team launched its own camp in tandem with Grace Art Camp in 2014. In 2015, Esme led a team of 15 Portland artists and counselors to Casa Chapi, a children’s school and orphanage located in the Colca Valley, high in the Andes of Peru. Casa Chapi, founded by another Portland non-profit, Quechua Benefit, having experienced the camp model from the Portland team, will be launching its own similar camp in the summer of 2016.
In addition to Grace Art Camp, Esme also established two new camps while at Grace: Spring Break Camp, a camp dedicated to lifting up classic stories of renewal, creation and opportunity through the arts and Bridges to Understanding and Peace Camp which brings artists and children of several faith traditions together to celebrate each other’s commonalities and to lift up the richness of deep tradition and culture via the arts. A creative visionary with two feet on the ground, Esme brings depth to the relationship The Great thou Art Camp shares with its founding institution, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, where she currently serves as Rector. Her gift of communication and reconciliation, her delight in working with people of all ages and histories, combined with her innate sense of humor, her deep understanding, her embrace of our life and times, and above all, her joy in living it, serves both institutions well. Esme’s vision is to bring the same kind of secular, yet values driven, arts camp experience to the children in East County, replicating elements of all her past camps. The Great thou Art Camp will focus deeply on the creative connection between humans and the environment, calling upon all creation to ignite artistic interpretation and appreciation.
LindaCarol McKinlay, Registrar The Great thou Art Camp
LindaCarol McKinlay is no stranger to either a day camp or overnight camp experience. She was a song leader for Campfire Girls when NaDaKa was the Nature Day Kamp. As Co-Director with the late Charles “Ed” Chairman of “Music for All Seasons” (a week-long overnight “MAD” camp for the Diocese of Oregon), the camp ran eight years at the Conference Center in Gearhart, Oregon and two years at the Triangle Lake Conference Center near Blachly, Oregon. LindaCarol has enjoyed seeing the young people (8 to18) return each year to learn new things about music, art, and drama.
Until her retirement in 2010, LindaCarol worked for Portland Public Schools in various Classified positions at elementary, middle, and high school levels. In 2007, she accepted the daunting task of organizing and supervising the District’s textbook adoption for all ten high schools, which took place during a very long hot summer. LindaCarol, in wanting to give her three children a productive but enjoyable summer, formed the “Small World Singers” with her children and three of her neighbor’s children. With her guitar and love of music, she and the six children sang at Loaves and Fishes Centers, nursing homes, appeared on television during a City Commissioner’s race, and were invited to sing at a Masonic Installation. She and the children toured around the Portland and Gresham areas for three summers singing folk songs and ballads. This involvement led her to working with Youth Choirs at several Episcopal churches and inspired her to return to school to obtain her degree in Music Education. Graduating Cum Laude from Portland State University with a B.A. in Music, she completed her teaching requirements at Warner Pacific College. It is with great excitement and anticipation that LindaCarol looks forward to being part of the team of “The Great thou Art Camp” each year on the campus of St. Aidan’s and is eager to meet this year’s participants.