A musical might be about a boy teaching a small town the importance of expressing yourself through dance. It might be about an elephant who learns how to stand up for himself. It might be about a beggar and a princess who fall in love on a magic carpet ride. But for the campers at Camp Kodiak it is that and so much more. It is about standing up, maybe for the first time, in front of a group of people and making their voices heard.
The first session at Camp Kodiak runs for four weeks during the month of July. One of the big components of this session is the camp-wide musical. Over the course of the four weeks, campers and staff work together to put together a performance that is then presented to friends, family and guests on Visitors’ Day. All campers perform at least one song with their cabin group, but there is also an opportunity for campers to audition for larger speaking roles. Together, over 200 campers unite to create a truly magical performance. Over the last four years I have had the pleasure of directing campers through productions of “Footloose,” “Into the Woods,” “Suessical: The Musical,” and “Aladdin.”
I always love to see the looks on parents’ faces when their youngster takes the stage and delivers a great performance. I cannot count how many parents have said that they never thought that their child would have the courage to do something like that. It really is a magical experience!
Recently I heard from a camper, who had spent many years participating in the Kodiak musical. As he grew from a boy into a young man, his roles and responsibilities in the musical grew as well. He went from being a teacup, to the goofy best friend, to taking on the lead roles of Horton the Elephant, and Aladdin. And now, he was just accepted into a university theatre program.
The Kodiak musical is a great way to end our first session and a special gift to share with our visitors, but it is also such a great catalyst for social growth, and for campers to experience how truly talented they really are.