Adolescents are trying to assert their independence in an environment where they can test their limits and experiment with different roles to find the one that fits best. Family loses some of its pull while friendships become central.
• Meeting friends in their peer group
• Fitting in; not being too different
• Not being treated like a child
Even the shyest children can gain self-confidence at this stage. Camps, such as No Strings Theatre Productions, can set the stage for kids to work as a team and try new things. Through the experience, they can discover where their true talents lie.
"They learn about their strengths and weaknesses," says Denise Williams, artistic director of the camp.
At her day camp in the arts, the participants roll up their sleeves and become involved with every aspect of theatre production, gaining valuable experience and have a whole lot of fun in the process.
Melody has been going to camp for about a decade, and you’d think, at 14, she might be getting bored of it.
While it may have been her parents who first made the decision to enrol her, however, she’s the one making the choice to keep going back. Through the years she's attended all kinds of camps, but when she found No Strings Theatre Productions' day camp—which Melody has now been attending for two summers—she found her niche. "I’m a huge theatre dork," Melody says. "It was a great experience."
Each year No Strings uses its four-week cycle to stage a musical. And after the first summer of being thrown into all of the tasks involved in putting on a real production, Melody knew she wanted to return for a second musical, this time, Into the Woods Junior.
For Melody, it's not just a way to spend the summer, but an experience that helps her build her skills, since she aspires to a career in the entertainment field.
She appreciates the fact that camp gives her something productive to do with her summer.
"You get to meet new people and make new friends—it’s a way to branch out during the summer," she says. "Otherwise I'd just sit at home."
by Lisa van de Ven
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