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Yes! And…Camp!

Summer Theatre Camp Once Again Offers Alternative Summer Fun at Atonement

Once again, this summer Atonement Lutheran Church will host a summer Theatre Camp for children in Fishtown and surrounding areas. From July 30 to August 10, Yes! And…Camp will be held for kids in grades 4 through 8.  Yes! And…Collaborative Arts is a nonprofit organization created in the spring of 1998 by a few theatre students at Eastern University who wanted to work with kids and the arts. Their mission is to equip children and young people with the tools to be better learners, to believe in themselves and to realize their dreams through the work of creating collaboratively with peers and professional artists. This Summer Theatre Camp is the flagship program of Yes! And…Collaborative Arts.

Michael, Brix, the program’s Director, stated. “Yes! And… Collaborative Arts is glad to once again be working with Atonement Lutheran Church to bring a camp that is both artistic and teaches the important skills of collaboration to middle school students in the Fishtown area.”

Members of Yes! And… operate collaboratively, not only in their camps, but the entire way they run their organization. As they explain it, members consider themselves a “tribe”, because the culture, history and desires of a tribe holds a power that reason, practicality or clearness cannot negate, though it may seem strange from the outside.  All of their programs offer kids a chance to show off their skills in the arts.

Yes! And…’s name comes from a theatre game, an exercise where an individual begins a story and the next person picks the story up by responding, “Yes! And…” This individual would then add their part of the story, and pass it on. They chose this name to be a constant reminder of their collaborative spirit. Members of Yes! And… believe that collaboration is a vital skill for children to learn, and much more powerful than compromise.

Camp staff is comprised primarily of members of the Philadelphia arts and education community. For almost two weeks, kids registered in the Summer Theatre Camp will be immersed in imaginative play, working with professional artists and educators to create brand new plays. Campers will also be introduced to legends, lore, characters, and dances, just to name a few of the features.

Yes! And… Summer Theatre Camps are day-long programs where campers are engaged in different artistic and creative disciplines. Every day, camps feature dance, acting, visual arts, storytelling and other arts. Classes focus on collaboration between students. Through play, instructors work to boost each child’s self-image and give him/her a sense of belonging in a community.

When asked about the impact these camps have on their students, Brix stated, “The act of creating in community is so immediately powerful that many parents notice and mention a change in their children even after as short a program as the two-week summer theatre camp with Yes! And… Collaborative Arts.”

There are no prior arts requirements needed for the Yes, and…Camp program. Campers, generally ages 8 – 13, become members of small “tribes”, which are the central units to their camp experience. Within the context of these tribes, students create imagined identities, roles, shared history, myths, and story – all through their play and work in daily classes.

At the closing of the program, all of the children’s work is displayed in a performance for their families and friends. All of their imaginative play and work becomes the material for a final script, choreographed dances, sets and costumes. Each Summer Theatre Camp experience ends with a celebration of the collaborative and creative work. Campers will debut a World Premiere Performance that they have imagined, created, produced and performed themselves!

Michael Brix sincerely believes in collaborative arts camps as a healthy alternative way for kids to have fun in the summer. “With the relative dearth of creative summer programming for middle schoolers, many parents turn to the Wii or DVR for summer options for their kids,” Michael said, “Here at Yes! And… Collaborative Arts, we take those kids and engage them in an imaginative process that feeds not just their free time, but also their souls.”

To register your child for Yes! And…Camp at Atonement Lutheran Church in July, please visit their website at www.yesandcamp.org or call 215-951-0330 x2117. You can also e-mail: info@yesandcamp.org. Camps cost $200 per week. You can discuss “camperships” available. Yes! And…Collaborative Arts wants to ensure that no child will be turned away because of an inability to pay. There should be no barrier to guaranteeing your child a fun, active, artistic summer!

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