Kootenai Valley Quilt Guild Summer Campers
stitch their way to another year of success
by Stacy Bender
Back row: Quinn Tennison-assistant, Pam Haas-teacher, Paula Darko Hensler-Teacher, Vivian Grosch- student, Angie Pankey-teacher, Sidney
Clemons-assistant, Marge Kroeger-teacher, Koehler Holmes-student
Front row: All students – Lilly Harcourt, Lexie Kim, Allie Clemons, Trent
Tennison, Libelle Bumpus, Bonita Behee, Lillian Laing, Carlie Brim.
Not pictured, students: LillyAnna Munro, Teeanna James. (All Photos by Stacy Bender)
One of the favorite projects for campers was to pick a placemat kit to sew together.
On the final day of camp, students shared the various projects which they had
worked on all week.
Sewing students pay a visit to Kootenai Pets for Life following their week-long camp to
deliver beds for the shelter animals to rest comfortably while awaiting a new home.
The Kootenai Valley Quilt Guild began sponsoring kids sewing camps each summer in 2010 and the experience has become something that campers at the now week-long experience have come to cherish.
In 2018, retired Home Economics teacher Paula Darko-Hensler was quick
to formulate a plan when she heard the local high school was going to be taking the class she once taught for years off of their elective template. Not wanting the sewing machines – which had provided years of lessons in self-efficacy and
communal sustainability – to lay dormant, Paula brought together the team of
advocates from the guild and a new level of enrichment was brought to the
2021 saw twelve young proteges join the guild at the Nazarene Church
where members and volunteers transformed a meeting space downstairs into
an instant sewing space fit to foster a long list of projects on tap.
The KVQG sewing camp runs for a duration of four days. Beginning students are provided with 4 or 5 projects which they may complete as time ( and learned time management ) allow. First year students choose color pallets and can sometimes work on pillowcases, potholders, bags, and specific to this year—small pet beds which were later donated to Kootenai Pets for Life.
Second year students brought small “monsters” to life as one of their tasks, requiring an attention to detail as they learned to tuck corners, use various types of stitching and more. Third-year campers spent a good portion of the week
constructing the bones and then quilting the patterns into their very own quillos – quilts that can be folded down into an attached pocket for easy storage/travel.
On the final day of camp, all were invited to share their work with one
another and then a caravan of campers set out to connect with their greater
community through the talents they had put to work. “Special deliveries to
places such as Kootenai Pets for Life and Families in Partnership brings a sense of purpose which our campers can put to use in the future as they continue to sew,” shared Marge Kroeger, KVQG member and one of the program coordinators and instructors.
Aside from the dog beds which first-year campers had fashioned, a plethora of usable items such as small blankets, burp rags, bibs and other items were
delivered following the 2021 camp experience.
While the camp has never been outright advertised, it’s reputation has built
to capacity every year and remained steadfast with both local youth and some who simply come to stay with relatives for the summer. “I want to come back when camp is happening again next year, Gramma!” exclaimed one young student as this year’s camp came to a close.
Everyone who participated has been invited to bring their creations to the 2021 Kootenai Valley Quilt Show happening Saturday and Sunday, September 11 and 12 at the Kootenai Valley Christian School, 1024 Montana Ave. in Libby.
Students will display what they learned at camp this summer—a tangible
testament to the lessons of patience, perseverance, problem-solving, and pride which the Quilt Guild instills to the youth each year.
Those interested in learning more about the experience may contact Marge Kroeger at email@example.com. All are welcome to join the Kootenai Valley Quilt Guild on the second Monday of each month at the Nazarene Church, 186 E. Horseshoe Drive in Libby, at 6:00 p.m. More information on the guild can also
be acquired by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.