Dancing with the spirit provides an opportunity for youth to experience the joy of music camps and school programs—plus have access to instruments—as an alternative to alcoholism, drugs, and suicide.  The program has begun in twenty-five Alaskan villages.

Dancing with the Spirit’s goal is to have music camps, young bands, and school programs everywhere.  Music builds confidence, self-esteem, and the closeness of family. Students can spend hours and hours playing guitars and fiddles, singing and dancing.  Music develops leadership, builds community, keeps kids in school—and is a wonderful way to pass on language and culture.

This project is modeled on a 4H Bluegrass and Old-time Music and Dance Camp that has been held in Cordova, Alaska for the past 23 summers.   In 1999, counselors at the Cordova music camp formed a bluegrass band called Bearfoot www.bearfootband.com  This Alaskan band became professional with 5 CD’s, a recording contract, and an agent—and has gone on to do concerts and over 100 bluegrass music camps for kids in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, and Ireland.   Amazing ideas can spread like wildfire—with each student teaching another.

Give the gift of spirit, music, and dance to youth www.dancingwiththespirit.org   Send tax-deductible contributions to the Dancing with the Spirit Fund, Episcopal Diocese of Alaska, 1205 Denali Way, Fairbanks, Alaska  99701   For more information contact the Rev. Belle Mickelson 907-388-3347 bellemickelson@gmail.com  or  the Episcopal Diocese at 907-452-3040.