The Special World of Summer Camps by Sydney Prather

The Special World of Summer Camps

Teens are supposed to look forward to summer, it's in our nature. Long days in the sun with friends and, of course, a break from high school. But for me, summer is my favorite time of year for a vastly different reason. Summer means summer camp and that means getting to spend eight hours a day with my SDP family, teaching children about what I love the most.

I applied for an intern position two summers ago on a whim. I had worked with Stage Door on Annie Jr. the winter before and loved every moment of it. “What's the harm?” I thought. “I love kids, I love theater, and I love this company; of course I should try.” Little did I know what it meant when I got the internship.

A week of camp is unlike any other experience. You are face to face with at least 60 children who are all depending on you. Many of them have no prior theater experience and it isyour job to be their guidance. For that week, you are their friend and mentor, taking them on a journey to the stage on that final day, and hopefully, to a new found appreciation for the performing world. There is no time to hesitate, you must throw yourself into the deep end and trust the training you have and the knowledge you bring to give these kids the best experience possible.

When it comes to the children, it is impossible to say what you will encounter through the weeks, but the one thing I can guarantee is that you have something to teach them, and they, in turn, have something to teach you if you are willing to learn. You are put in a truly unique situation to shape a growing mind, a place normal teens rarely find themselves, and that is what makes this internship so special. I have seen children terrified to audition day one, absolutely light up during the show; children who have never had a singing role, belt their little hearts out in the rehearsal space; children who came not knowing if theater was for them, and left begging their parents to let them audition. There is no greater feeling than knowing that you were able to share such an amazing gift with the next generation of performers.

Kids are the future of the arts. We work in a business that is constantly growing and changing. Generation upon generation passes down traditions and grows and shapes the theater world we experience today. With this internship, I, and many others, have been given the opportunity to pass on what we love and prepare the incoming group to fill our shoes. Not many people, especially as high schoolers can say they were given the opportunity to make such a difference. So as the intern application opens, I hope you will consider applying. The chance to change lives is right in front of you, all you have to do is make the dive.

Sydney Prather has been performing with SDP for the past two years. She was most recently seen as the Wicked Witch in Shrek Jr. and will be representing SDP this January at the Junior Theatre Festival as Miss Hannigan in Annie Jr. In addition to interning with SDP in the summer, Sydney will also serve as Assistant Director for our upcoming production of Aladdin Jr.

Click Here for to apply for the SDP Summer Internship

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