Transcript of our interview with Javier, Parent
What's unique about the program at the Great Big Theatre Company that made you want to register your child there?
He was the one asking me to register him there. The reason I registered him is because I received a flier for the Great Big Theatre Company (GBTC), and then I read that by participating in these camps, kids will develop more skills like self-confidence, teamwork, leadership, and so many other things that I was interested in. I thought that would be great. So I registered him for the first time. And after the first time, he was so happy. He was really motivated and interested.
The unique thing for me was the customer service and the personal relationships that you develop with the people at GBTC. Charles and Lily made a difference. There are people that you can talk with face-to-face. And they are concerned; they are not just two people running a business.
And also because my son, David, was happy. He was the one asking me to register him there. I used to work for another camp and I could have registered him for free or for a low cost. But David said, “No, I want to go to the acting company.” And they helped him with his creativity. He's improved his public speaking as well. He then joined Toastmaster's and he was doing great.
What is the difference between Great Big Theatre Company and other theatre camps?
Well, the difference is that the camp I worked at was not as personalized. The counsellors at the GPTC are more connected with the kids. And also because it has smaller groups, they are more connected and it has more structure and allows kids to work on their creativity.
The other camps were outdoors most of the time, so it was kind of tiring. Whereas GBTC always had places where the kids go outside, but they have an indoor area of the camp where kids find shade in more comfortable conditions.
The counsellors at GBTC are great. I think that Charles and Lily do a great job screening and hiring and interviewing good people. Because you need to have good people who believe that when you do something, you have to do it with passion. The people that work there are very passionate, which makes a big difference.
Was there any change or noticeable personal growth you saw in your child after his time at the Great Big Theatre Company?
For me, the number one thing is not your knowledge, your degrees, or your titles—it's your self-confidence. And that was the main reason I registered David in this program. And everybody could notice his improved confidence, at school and elsewhere.
He joined the Toastmaster's program. This is a club where people develop public speaking skills. So he did really great, and everyone was impressed.
And that's because of David’s experience at GBTC. Because there, the kids have to speak and be creative. Not only that, David developed his teamwork skills and creativity with language— he had to write some stories at camp and he was able to write the Superhero Boy.
How can a parent support their child to get the most out of the Great Big Theatre Company?
Parents need to be involved. It's not about just registering your kid in a camp because they don't want to have the kid at home. So being involved means being aware of what your kid is doing. Like every time he or she goes to GBTC, they’re participating in presentations that they have— usually at the end of every week they have a performance. So you have to be there.
Imagine your child working hard preparing for a play to perform by the end of the week on Friday and you’re not there. So it’s extremely important you come to watch.
Also, in the past and even now, they have to prepare some kind of costumes. So engaging, participating, being as excited as your child, who might say “Hey dad, today I'm going to perform this character and I need these things.” So you need to help them get the stuff.
You also want to listen to the excitement and motivation of your child. You want to be involved: knowing what your child is doing and supporting him in those things, helping them prepare and participate, and going to see them perform. Those are some of the important things you can do [to support your child].
What does your child say about the Great Big Theatre Company, either to you, or that you may have heard them say to friends?
In the last two summer camp seasons that he participated in, way before the summer arrived, he was telling me to make sure that you register me for the summer camp. Summer camps start in July, and I have registered David for the last two summer camps in December of the previous year, so you see how motivated he was. He would also say he loves GBTC. He was so excited!
Regardless of the conditions at home, GBTC is something that can reinforce skills needed for kids to develop stronger emotionally. Because in a human being, it's all about your body, your mind, and your emotion. So this will definitely help improve the social and creative part of the children, like interacting, creating your own ideas, and feeling free.
Also, if you want to do something for your child, and if you are experiencing a difficult situation, this can definitely help. And even if you don’t have difficulties, this will also help kids reinforce those skills that are going to be needed at the school.
It will help kids with their interpersonal skills. There was a recent study done by Harvard University, and it's one of the longest studies in the world, like years, decades, where they ask people, like, what will make you happy at the end of the day, at the end of your life? And it turned out to be all about interaction and relationships with people. And GBTC is a great way to start making the foundation for those future relationships in life.