Cutbacks shut down Badlands Performing Arts Camp
After 18 years, the Badlands Performing Arts Camp has been cancelled.
For years the camp, held at St. Anthony’s School, allowed students to earn 10 high school credits, as well as a chance to pursue acting, singing, and dancing. It has been a valuable experience for students.
“This program has changed lives. As a 20-year teaching veteran, I don’t get many phone calls from my classroom parents, but I have done this for 16 years and every fall, parents will contact me,” said Tim Stolz who has run the camp. “This is no exaggeration, they will call and say ‘that program has just changed my kid’s life, what an incredible program.’”
He explains that Alberta Education has gone to block crediting. This means schools are able to award a certain amount of credits for the student each year. The Badlands Performing Arts Camp was able to offer a
student 10 credits. Not only was this an enticement to have the student sign up, but also Alberta Education would provide the funding based on the credits offered.
“Students used to be able to get unlimited credits in the school. Literally, these have been cut it in half. So now my students are coming in and spending 175 hours in three weeks and can maybe get five credits and even less - when before they used to be able to get 10. A soon as that happens there is no funding,” said Stolz.
The camp averaged about 35 students each summer and it partnered with the Rosebud School of the Arts. Each year students participated as actors in the Canadian Badlands Passion Play. This may leave a hole in the cast next year that would need to be filled.
Stolz said that Christ the Redeemer School Division went to bat for the Badlands Performing Arts Camp, but about two months ago he received a letter stating that it was one program it would be cutting from its summer programs due to financial inviability.
The Badlands Performing Arts Camp originated at DVSS and Stolz met with Principal Curtis LaPierre to discuss a possible future, but it didn’t work out.
At this point he says they could turn the camp into a private program, however, the student would not get any credits, and there would not be any funding beyond the tuition from the students, making it unaffordable.
“It is all because of Alberta Education making this change to block crediting. We cannot get funding,” said Stolz.
“It is just a terrible situation.”
The Badlands Performing Art Camp endured for 18 years however, funding changes from Alberta Edu- cation has forced it to cancel its programs.