Arts & Cultural Vitality / 2013

Camp Hollywood HEART

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Hollywood HEART

Our idea is providing a second week of Hollywood HEART's innovative annual arts summer camp, Camp Hollywood HEART (CHH). CHH is a week-long interactive arts experience for youth impacted by HIV/AIDS. Participants from ages 15-21 primarily from Los Angeles have the opportunity to explore, by choice, one of seven arts disciplines: acting, creative writing, culinary arts, documentary filmmaking, fashion, music, and visual arts. CHH enhances human development because our youth are given the opportunity to interact positively with arts professionals and one another as they explore their creativity and receive both personal and career-centered insight. Led by experienced artists and mentors, participants enjoy comprehensive instruction and training in their chosen art, steering them in the right direction for pursuing their creative passions. The camp culminates with a professionally produced live performance, empowering our young artists to showcase their creativity and artistic vision with the entire camp community. The opportunity to celebrate each other’s talents is an experience that brings smiles, pride, and confidence to the participants for years to come. The campers also get to choose exciting elective programming such as comic book artistry, fashion design, culinary arts, stunt choreography, and photography, providing campers with a well-rounded experience beyond their initial focus. In addition to electives and focused workshops, camp provides a variety of fun, enlightening experiences ranging from the exciting talent showcases by well-known entertainers to beach time, sports, and games. Before departing camp each participant is provided with a resource packet full of information and direction on how to further their professional development. The week at CHH allows participants to understand the responsibilities of adulthood and build self-esteem in a trusted, caring, and fun environment.


What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

Since its inception in 1995, Hollywood HEART hasn’t stopped providing amazing programs and support staff. Hollywood HEART was initially created as Camp Pacific Heartland (CPH) in 1995, and has since welcomed more than 1,750 campers. Created by entertainment executive David Gale, the camp was founded to address the social and recreational needs of Southern California children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Camp Pacific Heartland was held for 17 years in Malibu, California for kids aged 6-16 — providing them with opportunities to build skills, confidence, and hope. CPH allowed campers to take a break from the stress and stigma of living in a family impacted by HIV/AIDS while providing a safe, healthful environment in which these children could enjoy themselves and experience the normalcy they often lacked in their lives.

The Movie Team sought to utilize the film industry backgrounds of Hollywood HEART’s founders, board members and volunteers to give children and teens the opportunity to participate in the art of filmmaking. Through the Movie Team experience, the youths learned to write, produce, and star in their own short films. The program collaborated with local social service agencies including foster homes, community groups and Boys and Girls Clubs to produce over 70 films throughout the United States and South Africa. The model has since been integrated into Camp Hollywood HEART as well as the ongoing Educational Arts Workshops.

Our Educational Arts workshops are a condensed version of Camp Hollywood HEART and distill performing and visual arts skills into after-school and weekend-long formats throughout Los Angeles. Collaborating with local social service agencies and community groups, these workshops continue to share industry expertise and creativity with dozens of at-risk youth across Los Angeles. The goal of the Educational Arts Workshops is to provide skill sets to groups one workshop at a time. Programs include everything from intensive writing and documentary filmmaking workshops to fashion and set design. This allows our participants ample time to absorb, practice, and sharpen skills passed on from Hollywood professionals. Being able to provide these opportunities in collaboration with volunteers and small budgets have allowed Hollywood HEART to achieve unforgettable programming.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Hollywood HEART is proud to be able to partner with several amazing organizations to make CHH a reality every year. These organizations include:

One Heartland Young Variety of Southern California CITYstage Alternative Intervention Model Artists In Motion San Fernando Valley Partnership Mobile Film Classroom

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

Participants fill out qualitative and quantitative pre/mid/post surveys to gauge effectiveness and impact of the program. Volunteers, staff, and program partners also provide feedback. Our staff then measures the change in pre- and post-program answers to determine any change in attitudes over the course of the program and whether changes in attitude continue after the program is over.

End of program evaluations for both participants and program partners also ask for qualitative feedback on items such as program structure, content, what you learned, favorite/least favorite parts, and suggestions for the future. We use this feedback to help guide our future program planning.

Reviewing participant feedback every year is very important and has helped evolve programming to ensure success for everyone involved. Some positive feedback we received about CHH was that one participant now has arts and crafts fairs on the weekends with her siblings, another received a scholarship to Northern Arizona University for film thanks in part to films she created at camp, and another now cooks with plant based foods in order to directly combat the side effects of HIV/AIDS medications. These success stories are just a few reasons CHH needs to be expanded and offered to more youth from Los Angeles. More youth need opportunities to obtain professional and personal skills that will help ensure their success.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

Our project will specifically benefit Los Angeles because it will contribute to number of artists in the city that contribute to the economy as well as the culture. Los Angeles is one of the most artistically rich cities in the world in part thanks to the Hollywood industry. With schools continually eliminating arts programs, where will Los Angeles create, develop, and maintain identity? Hollywood HEART believes by providing these opportunities for youth in Los Angeles, they will use their skills to enhance the quality of life for all Angelenos.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

Success in the year 2050 regarding our indicator would vibrant and abundant. We will have touched the lives of more than a million youth through our arts programming by opening the doors to a successful future for them. Participants of Camp Hollywood HEART would then grow up to be strong, confident individuals that will want to give back to society as they are grateful for opportunities that were provided for them. They will spread the spirit of creativity and expression to educate others about the different lives and people that make Los Angeles the best city in the world.