Special to the Journal
Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts, the unique nine-day, no- cost residential summer camp for middle and high-school-aged kids from under-resourced communities who have a passion for the performing arts, will take place August 7-15, 2022, on the Northfield Mount Hermon campus in idyllic Gill, MA. Applications are now available at Summerstars.org/cometocamp.
“Our mission is to help kids discover themselves and their potential through the arts” says Donna Milani Luther, Founding and Executive Director of the not-for-profit camp. “The kids that come to our camp don’t have a lot of opportunities. Most come from places that have cut arts programs and have never been out of the city. By meeting other kids with the same interests and by working with a caring staff that holds them to the highest standards, the kids learn that through risk taking and artistic commitment, they develop essential character and life skills: confidence, creativity, problem solving, leadership, and team building. They take these standards, this work ethic, and a renewed sense of self-worth into all facets of their lives.”
Summer Stars offers small group programs in acting, blues performance, dance, musical theater/choral singing, set design, juggling, drumming, and much more. Professional singers, dancers, actors and other performers take students’ natural enthusiasm and passion for performance to the next level. A high-caliber multi-disciplinary end-of week show featuring all campers provides an exciting culmination to the Summer Stars experience.
Since its founding 22 years ago, almost 3,000 aspiring artists have come to Summer Stars, and nearly 30% of every group returns for another year. Michael Gerald-John first came to Summer Stars as a young camper and is now the first alumnae member of the Board of Trustees, Dorm Manager, and Master Teacher in the Leadership Program. He knows first-hand the significance of the Summer Stars experience.
“When our campers and our returning campers come here, they are looking for something,” he said. “They’re looking for some sort of message, or some sort of skill that they can take for themselves and apply it in their daily lives when they go back out into the world. Whether it’s going to school, playing sports or playing a musical instrument. They’re looking to use that message they learned at camp in their lives so that they can be a better person moving forward.
“Even now, when I come to camp, I know that I only have nine days to step outside of myself and learn as much as possible. When I look at the staff members that I work with, I’m reminded it’s a skill set I can take home.”
The ideal camper is a student who shows great interest and potential in the performing arts but, who may not have the opportunities to fully explore and develop their talent due to financial need or lack of community resources. There is no audition, and experience in the performing arts is not required.
Luther explains “We like to choose kids who are really passionate about the arts, so to apply we ask them to write application essays, and we solicit recommendations from teachers and others in their community who can stand up and say ‘This is a kid who wants to learn.’”
Camp is free to all campers. The Summer Stars Foundation is a 501-c3 and fully funded by donations. Camp is offered at no charge to campers, and transportation is provided from the Boston and New York metro areas and select other locations (including some local military bases).
Summer Stars deadline for applications for this year’s camp has been extended to July 1, 2022. Educators and Youth Program Leaders who know of promising candidates who would benefit from this unique experience are encouraged to visit the website and application materials (www.summerstars.org/come-to-camp) and recommend to their students that they apply.
For more information, visit www.summerstars.org
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