Katie Del Giacco's college plans changed dramatically when she attended a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point camp called COFAC.
The camp, named for the university's College of Fine Arts and Communication,was being held on campus to give high school students a chance to learn and grow as artists and musicians. Originally called Point Music Camp, the event was reinvented about five years ago to include a studio art camp, and then modified again to add a video-production camp this summer. The College of Fine Arts and Communication now works with the continuing education program on campus to host the event.
Mathew Buchman, a professor and director of jazz studies at UWSP, has been director of Camp COFAC for the past five years. Buchman said about 120 high school students attended this year's event and that there has been an increase in attendance in each of the last few years since the camp broadened its scope. Jennifer Hess, an outreach specialist with UWSP continuing education, said that the video production class filled its 12-student limit and had a waiting list in its first year.
Buchman said Camp COFAC is a unique experience because the teaching staff completely comprises staff from the university, which provides campers the opportunity to meet and study with an
"We want this week to be a great experience for these students and give them the opportunity to be around people who are as serious about music or art as they are, and that can be a recruitment tool for the university," Buchman told Stevens Point Journal Media.
That was the case for Del Giacco, who came to the camp as a 16-year-old who took part in the music camp as a saxophone player. Now 21 and studying arts management at UWSP, Del Giacco has been a camp counselor the past three years, helping out instructors during the day and hanging out with students during the evening.
"I knew I wanted to study music, but I didn't have a great idea of where I would end up until I came to this camp," said Del Giacco. "I really liked the campus and the professors I met, and it made me very comfortable. It's fun to come back now as a counselor and see students having that experience."
Sophia Verstegen, 14, of De Pere was taking part in the studio art camp. Throughout the week, she was taking classes in art history, pastel painting and life drawing. She's also worked in the university's foundry, making artwork out of bronze and pewter.
Verstegen said she'd like to continue studying art in college, but isn't sure yet what her focus would be. Which college she will attend is also up in the air, but said she's had a positive experience coming to UWSP this week.
"I liked coming to see all of the different things they have available here," Verstegen said.