Last week the amazing kids I associate with at the high school organized and ran an acting camp for kids in our community. A Senior, 17 teen year old, Matisyn Robischon took it upon herself to organize, manage, fund, and put into action Little Actor’s Acting Camp. The camp ran for 5 day, 3 hours each day.
Each day the children would play theater games, get instruction from the volunteer high school age counselors, and work on a short little play. Matisyn wrote grants and found sponsors. Matisyn organized car washes for fund raisers. Matisyn organized a governing board. Matisyn chose the activities. Matisyn purchased the snacks and supplies for the games. Matisyn choose the plays and recruited the 14 high school students that came every day. She energized the 65 campers, ranging in age from 4 to 13, and got them all started each day. My friend Jeff and I were there… we just didn’t have to do much.
This little camp started last year as a Thespian activity. This year, Matisyn wanted to take it a step further. It is her hope to continue the camp as a non-profit in years to come. I think it comes down to this: Theater gave her the confidence to try new things. She truly believes that every kid deserves to shine – to have a “little spotlight” in their lives. She wants to help kids feel important.
Each day the campers would focus on a different theme from emotions to teamwork. The teen leaders would guide and encourage the campers. I have to say I am proud of all the teens that worked the camp. These teen gave up a week of their summer and contributed to their community. They learned better leadership skills. They learned patience. They even learned to appreciate the teachers that spend so much time helping them to learn. 🙂
At the end of the week we produced 4 short little plays for parents. We had coverage from 2 local newspapers. We went from 23 campers our first year to 65 campers this year. We earned enough money to pay for the camp expenses, have started money for next years camp and to put a reasonable amount in our Thespian account.
I see the training we have given these kids in Production Class paying off. In class we talk about how a production comes together from conception to closing night. We teach the kids about planning, calendaring, marketing, and pre-production. We teach them about the step we take to make a production successful. Watch Mati put this camp together helped me see that the lessons we are teaching in Production Class are paying off!
Although I am extremely proud of all the high school students, I must say I am most proud of Lilli (my youngest child). She will be a freshmen this year and has stepped up to the big kid table quite nicely. She was adored by all the campers and was the subject of many “hug” piles. She was able to get the children to follow her instructions with kind firmness. She is shaping up to be a fantastic teacher!
I am also so proud of Mati. When I first met Mati she was shy. She took a back seat to everyone. Now she is a leader. She is confident. She has a great future making her own way and blazing her own path.
These people make me happy. These people help me see that each one of us can make a difference in this world… one person at a time.