There are so many options out there for summer camps for kids these days. From specialty camps to camps that do it all, the decision on how your camper will spend their summer is often as overwhelming as what to watch on Netflix. (Come on, we all scroll for longer than we actually stay awake to watch, right?) Very often, we hear from families that they are interested in camp, but it seems like a better investment to try a camp that is more “general,” allowing campers to try a little of a lot, but never really diving deep into one area in a meaningful way.
At our performing arts summer camp, we actually believe that by focusing on theater, campers have the opportunity to hone their skills in a more refined way. In turn, those skills are applicable to a wide array of experiences throughout the year and even into adulthood. Being a part of a production at Ghostlight instills a sense of individuality in campers while placing that in the context of a larger whole. It teaches them life skills and allows them to see those skills in action.
Collaboration: Listening is at the heart of being onstage. It defines how we are present with each other and how build performances from rehearsal to opening night. At a deeper level, listening builds the first foundations of empathy, which helps campers build a sense of security and stronger relationships with other children and educators, positioning them well for learning.
Confidence: Studies show that healthy confidence in young people leads them to be more positive, engaged, and enthusiastic. By supporting our campers in small groups, Ghostlight is instilling in them the practice of acting from a place of certainty and experience that says adversity can and will be overcome. Paired with collaboration, campers learn that they are both integral to the generation and synthesizing of ideas within a group.
Body language: With the proliferation of screens in our society, we have noticed that body language has become a tertiary concern for pre-teens and teens. Coming to acting summer camps for teens, students can be away from their screens and interact face to face with peers and staff, and campers engage in communication between the spoken and typed.
Reading between the lines: Being a careful and perceptive reader is a skill that most kids learn in their English classes at school, but the kind of extra close line-by-line reading that theatre necessitates can lead to a whole new level of reading comprehension. It’s a wonderful gift for kids to have to move through a play sentence by sentence, wondering what the motivation is behind each and every word. The limited amount of exposition in scripts means that kids will have to use their imaginations to understand what a character’s intent actually is. This is invaluable when it comes to our children’s future, regarding everything from critical thinking about books to the ways in which our kids will learn to intuit how other people are thinking and feeling.
Failure is an option, but that’s okay: If it can go wrong, chances are it will. Missing lines, forgotten props, technical glitches, all these things are very possible on stage. And you know what? Everything still turns out just fine. This is an important lesson for campers to learn throughout our theater programs for youth. There are so many options in life and very few are fully under our control. That’s why we’ve got to learn to roll with the punches and do our best anyway. And also to…
Improvise: Just because something gets messed up, it doesn’t mean everything needs to stop. The show—like life—must go on. This is so important for kids to realize; even when they are literally the star of the stage, they too need to adapt to big changes. And in that adaptation comes a different kind of liberation, one which shows kids that there can be freedom in veering away from the designated script, and just experiencing what comes next with no plan in sight.
Healthy Competition: Our performing arts camps for kids hope to take a lot of the anxiety around competition away from the experience at Ghostlight. But, learning that desire and longing, along with disappointment, are a part of life is a crucial experience for campers of all ages. By supporting campers with fantastic counselors and creative staff, we are able to frame competition as another feeling campers can find healthy ways of dealing with. More importantly, they learn from their peers that many of the pressures that lead to unhealthy competition can be set aside at camp!
All of these components are parts of summer at Ghostlight. We set our mission to send campers home more confident, independent, and self-expressive at the front and center of everything we do. All that is required of campers is that they show up and have fun. We take care of making sure their experiences lead to the growth and development families will see at the end of the summer. Contact us today about our summer camps for acting!
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