In the summer of 2005 I was one of the lucky few to get involved in a summer program that satisfied my need to create. The program was called Circle Round the Square. Here, I not only found sanctuary, I also discovered a little piece of who I am. While enrolled in the program I began to transform. I realized that it’s OK to doodle and not get scolded for it. It was OK to dress up and pretend. It was OK to share ideas. Every night I went home and enthusiastically replayed the day’s events to my family and then proceeded to dream about what the next day would be like. One of the most memorable moments of that summer happened when the students presented their artwork at Final Friday. That was one of the first times I ever felt proud of something I did. I would have to say that participating in Circle Round the Square pushed me in the right direction. After a couple of summers within the program, I moved to Athens where I began focusing on many electives in art. I fell in love with photography in high school and later majored in photography at Hocking College. After many years of being out of the loop, I get an offer to intern for the same program that shaped my future. When I took on the job my outlook on the program also transformed. It was amazing to see the hard work it takes on both sides to make it all work. I loved every minute of the experience of my role as a teacher. I got to help the kids shine and encourage their dreams as someone had once done for me. I believe that the program offers a constructive alternative instead of sitting at home and staring at a screen. The program opens up so many doors for kids that lack encouragement. Here, there is so much love and support. Here, the students’ say, “I did this. I created something beautiful.” The number one reason for success is collaboration through the students, the teachers, volunteers and even the other galleries. Moral of the story is everybody does his or her part. Thank you for all that you have done. Not just for me, but for every person involved. It’s just magic!

CJ, 19 / 2013 Intern
Circle around the square was something I first heard about when I was in junior high, but I was hesitant to go. But in the summer after 8th grade, Barb convinced me to come and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was a great escape from all the negative energy at home and in life in general. The program was fun, productive, and it helped shape who I am today. It made me feel safe, gave me confidence, gave me connections, and I met many amazing people. After that first year, I knew I wanted to do it again. I went for another 3 years, and I was also an intern. The thing I like the most about it is that it gives kids the opportunity to get away and make art. Art has been something that I’ve always enjoyed, but I never really had the chance to do it in school or anywhere else. So this program really gave me that chance to do it. It gave me the chance to express myself and learn how to express myself better; it helped me learn how to eat healthy, how to paint and sculpt and etc. I love circle around the square. A lot of the kids including myself have lived rough lives and have been through a lot, whether it may have been verbal/physical abuse, broken homes, poverty, starvation, bullying, etc. So this program is such a great escape from that, because it is nothing but positive energy. The teachers are full of so much love and they genuinely care about everyone and what they do. It’s an amazing program, and if I could, I would do it every year.
Robby Seeber, 17 / 2013 Intern
There is no one word to describe how much summer Circle means to me. If it wasn’t for this program, I would sit inside all-day and watch TV. I like to express myself through the art this program offers. Ceramics, painting, screen printing, and theater are some of the classes it offers. This camp means a lot to me and most of the kids here. This camp lets kids be themselves. We all fit in somewhere. This is where I do. This program is so much different than school. No bullying here is tolerated. This rule makes some kids who get bullied on a regular basis feel safe. The instructors are great. They listen they listen, they care. Most teachers at school don’t care about a student’s problems. .Our instructors make kids feel like they have a place. They make kids have confidence. When kids have confidence they do better at school and make more friends. They go out for things they want to do. They build character. They get the courage to do anything. Summer Circle means so much to so many people. If we didn’t have it there would be a lot of frowns on a lot of faces.
Danielle Shultz, 13
To me, Circle Around the Square s a second family. Its like every year I meet new and old relatives. Some are big, and some are small. We are all great at different things, some drama, some photography, painting, ceramics and even cooking. This is why we all get along. Every year we get to experience and try different things. All our teachers are always there if we need anything And to me this is what makes us a family.
Stefani O’Neill, 14
I come to camp everyday because I can share my feelings and be happier than I do at school. I feel better about myself at camp. I can be happy because i can go places i have never been. I have tons of friends here and get help with the stuff I need help with. The teachers are helpful, kind and they show us they care. I have to say I have the best teachers in the world. I wish I could come here when school starts again because I love coming here every single year in the summer. I think I had the most fun in the camp than I did in the whole school year. I wish I could come to camp when school starts. Next summer I look forward to coming back to camp again. Thank you for the most awesomest summer. I will always come back to camp. THANK YOU FOR THE BESTEST SUMMER IN THE WHOLE WORLD!
Breeona Edwards, 9
I come to paper Circle because I thought it would be fun and it was. I learned to cook, make art and make friends. All the staff I like too. Plus it’s the only place I don’t get bullied. I’ve always loved art but coming to Paper Circle helped me get better at it. The teachers and interns help a lot and are nice/ I like coming to this camp and I hope to come again. So I can get even better at art and cooking. I’ve made lots of new friends and can’t wait to see them next year.
Haley Sikorski, 11
Good Morning.

Thank you for your email. We were talking about you not long ago. Since Emily is a senior this year we have been going through pictures and talking about Circle around the Sq.

Just want you to know how much Circle around the Square meant to Emily . THANK YOU SO MUCH! We love Circle and Love you too!

She is still painting . She just finished one for a someone yesterday. She has done several pictures for people over the past year.

We are trying to decide on a college. We have visited Univ. of Cincinnati, University of Akron, and OU. We will be visiting Wittenberg soon.

Emily is undecided on what to study . She thinks she wants to be a Minister.

I have a niece in Nelsonville York Elementary and is in the third grade. I think Emily had finished the third grade when she started Circle Around the Square. My niece’s name is Claire Abraham. We hope she will be able to do Circle just like Emily did.

Thank you for being a part of Emily’s life and helping her to be the person she is today.

THANK YOU!

Amy McCullough, parent