Registration is open for LEI's creative expression summer camps

"Creature and Habitat," by Nahla Fletcher, a first-grade participant in LEI's Creature Creations Camp.

Creature Creations, a Lake Erie Ink (LEI) Creative Expression summer day camp for youth throughout Northeast Ohio, begins as it always has—coming together under the big white tent set up right outside the Coventry PEACE campus building. The sun shines down as birds welcome the arrival of the campers right in the heart of the Cleveland Heights Coventry neighborhood. There is a notable rush of activity under the tent as first- and second-graders scramble to prepare their displays.

It is a big day for the kids. All week, they have been perfecting and fleshing out the lives of the creatures they have created. They’ve built environments where their creatures might live, and invented backstories to explain their personalities. 

Everything has a purpose and an explanation. Some kids have added caves and rivers to their environments, while others believe their creatures live in mountain settings. On the last day of camp, parents come to see what their children have created. Feelings of pride and interest abound as youngsters guide their families through the intricacies of the characters they’ve created.

Experiences such as these demonstrate the value of creative expression. Even after a decade, LEI's creative expression camps have remained relatively unchanged in their commitment to helping young people discover new forms of expressing themselves. 

LEI believes its the simplicity of creativity that makes it such an important part of a child’s life. “It gives you a moment to sit, focus, and reflect,” said Charisse Bailey, LEI's director of programs. “All you need is a pencil and a piece of paper.” 

Registration is open for LEI's Creative Expression summer camps for kids and teens. To learn more, and to register, go to

Eli Millette

Eli Millette, a resident of Cleveland Heights, is the communications and outreach director at Lake Erie Ink. 

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 6:02 PM, 05.01.2022