Week 2 at VYT Summer Camp


By: Elizabeth Mattia

If someone asked me to pick a theme for this week, it would be “Encouragement.”

I am a believer that you can never show someone enough encouragement. In this world, many things are out of our control, but our words are something we are in control of. So why not make them encouraging? At this camp, the staff strives to be encouraging in word and deed. I have been truly amazed at the connection our staff has with the campers. This week I want to highlight some of the leaders!

Ms. Jessie- Choreographer

“If you think it is important then the audience will think it is to.”

Jessie has a beautiful connection with the kids through dance. She leads them with a free spirit. She gives them the opportunity to stretch themselves and learn new dances but doesn’t force perfection. The warmups she does with the kids are routines they can keep in their back pocket forever. She gets them centered each morning by taking deep breaths and empowering movement. It is the perfect start to any day! She brings out things in them that will make them better people and better dancers. To be a dancer you do not have to take lessons or be in a company. Dance is more than that. Dance is moving in a way that your heart feels free no matter where you are.

Mr. Tyson-  Acting Coach

“Everything you do should tell a story.”

I really enjoy the kid’s acting workshop with Mr. Tyson. He preaches the pillars of acting so well. To put on a great show, a cast must work together, and most importantly, tell your characters truth.

The campers recently got their roles for their ending performance of Dear Edwina, and Mr. Tyson was sharing the importance and the challenge of being ensemble. When people begin in theatre, they usually assume if they get ensemble that means they don’t have an important part. But the ensemble is EVERYTHING.

It was great to see that Mr. Tyson and the other staff communicated how important the ensemble is. To many non-theatre people, it is a surprise that the ensemble (or chorus) is a challenging role. Ensemble is responsible for filling in the blanks. It is the ensemble’s job to use creativity to build the world where the story takes place. Being in ensemble is no easy job. Ensemble must be the most engaged characters onstage, or the story won’t be believable. All the directors have said, “Dear Edwina is an ensemble show.” Mr. Tyson worked with the kids about how to be an engaged ensemble member, and even I learned some new things. I am so impressed by our group of campers. They have grown leaps in two weeks!

 “Acting isn’t so much pretending as it is telling another person’s truth.” -Mr. T

Ms. Rebekah- Music Director

“Musical theatre is one of the best platforms for social commentary, and it can bring light to important issues like nothing else can.”

Ms. Rebekah uses her platform to educate the kids through story, and song. She shares truth so tastefully, and she has such a spunky personality. She does a fabulous job teaching technical concepts in an easy to swallow way. She was sharing the importance of going and getting things you want for yourself. To expound upon this point she shared some of her story...

Ms. Rebekah was in 7th grade when her father was apart of the show Oliver at the Herberger Theatre. Her father gave her the opportunity to come watch tech week…so she did, and that was the beginning.

The show was in need of a violin player, and guess who came in the next day and played violin for the show? Ms. Rebekah!

She was a part of the music at VYT, as a volunteer, for years. Then that turned into a job as a musical director. Ms. Rebekah concluded her story with this point…                                                                                                                    “Just be willing, and things will happen for you.”

Ms. Camille - Music Director

“We want to speak love into their soul.”

This week I had the pleasure to watch Ms. Camille lead the kids in music, and wow… I knew she was a good teacher, but I had no idea she had the voice of an angel. It is much easier to learn from someone who practices what they preach. Everything Ms. Camille taught the kids, she then did when she sang. I personally love learning from people I admire. When she started to sing, the kid’s faces gleamed with admiration. Because the staff here is so talented and likeable, the kids have a “I get to” attitude when they go to their different workshops. She brings so much energy to whatever she is doing with the kids, and it makes them more excited to rehearse.

Ms. Sandi – Director

“We see good things in you that you can’t see.”

Do you remember that feeling when you got a good grade on a test? And you couldn’t wait to get home and show your parent? That is how the kids feel when they learn something new. They CAN’T WAIT to show our director Ms. Sandi. What a complement that is to Sandi!

I can personally say Sandi has made me feel like I belong here. She welcomed me onto the VYT team with more hospitality than I could have ever expected.

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