By Amy Mills, EEFC Board Member
Published May 13, 2015
Amidst the hellos and hugs on the first day at camp, one of my favorite moments is when the new scholarship recipients are announced during orientation. It’s a moment to cheer for new acquaintances and greet old friends. This year, I suspect there will be a roar of enthusiasm—an unprecedented number of scholarship recipients will be attending the Balkan Music & Dance workshops this summer, thanks to the generosity of our community.
Since the scholarship program was started in 2003, the equivalent of 58.5 full-time scholarships have helped 78 recipients attend one of the summer workshops. Over the years, we’ve been able to offer as many as 13 and as few as two. A total of $16,825.50 was donated for the 2015 season. When combined with two endowed scholarships, this allows us to support the equivalent of 18.5 full-time scholarships this year. A great huzzah and hearty thank you to each of you who donated to the program!
Scholarships have now been awarded for both 2015 summer workshops. These include the equivalent of 15.5 Crum/Kef scholarships, as well as one funded by Balkan Night Northwest, one honoring Stefni Agin, one honoring Lillie Cooper, and two Čoček Nation half-scholarships for young musicians attending Iroquois Springs. Thank you to the members of the Scholarship Committee for donating much time and energy to select this year’s recipients.
Scholarships are a fantastic way to spread the joy of Balkan music and dance. They help us build community by bringing new faces into the circle. They let us support one another in a tough economy by making it possible for community members with limited means participate fully. And they can make it affordable for participants from more remote communities to attend. They create a ripple effect when scholars return home to share their passion and new knowledge.
Scholarships are also helping us cultivate the next generation of leaders, performers and community members. For example, this year, 2012 recipient Alex Marković will be teaching dance at both camps, and 2009 recipient Corinne Sykes has taken the Site Manager reins at Mendocino. Many other recipients are sharing music and dance in their own communities around the world.
One other key thing that scholarships do is to help EEFC remain viable. This is because a scholarship not only helps fill camp, it does so directly. 100% of scholarship donations go to tuition costs to bring someone to camp. The number of scholarships awarded each year depends directly on funds donated by our community. Supporting scholarships is one of the most effective ways that we can help spread the joy of Balkan music and dance.
Please take a moment to learn more about scholarships and how you can support them on our website. And if you’re attending camp this summer, join me at orientation to cheer on our new scholars and our generous community!