I don’t even remember what crazy thought crossed my mind convincing me that a woman who never even wanted to babysit could run a theatre summer camp for thirty kids.  Guess it really didn’t matter.  The idea had hatched.  The camp was pitched.  The grant was awarded.  A theater camp would be!

I spent months planning.  I spent months convincing my friends and fellow thespians to see a dream through my eyes.  My trusted friends weren’t a hard sell and they never questioned whether or not I was the one to make it a go.  They simply closed their eyes, took a deep breath and dove in with me!  What a remarkable group of people I’ve found.

The response was overwhelming.  Turning kids away was never part of the plan.  I assumed I would be begging for participants.  Instead, I found amazing parents, grandparents and caregivers begging for the opportunity to participate.

The week began and my heart grew.  The first day of camp my most trusted friend and mentor stood by my side, commanding the attention of a room full of wandering souls.  She sparked their interest, captivated their minds and held their attention like a pro.

I’ve NEVER had so much respect for teachers in my life.

The week flew by, faster than anticipated, to my surprise and chagrin.

The kids learned about theater.  I learned about myself.

I awoke on Friday, show day, with a feeling of complete and total calm.  I had no fear that these amazing children, children I had only known a week, would knock it out of the park and make me more proud than an up-and-coming director, on opening night, on Broadway.  And they did.

They came out like a seasoned group of theater pros.  If they had nerves, they didn’t show – and quite honestly, neither did mine.  After a week with these talented, young and open-minded spirits I felt like they (we) could conquer the world, starting with our humble little Theater-in-the-Park.

They performed, they sang, they marched through the aisles… The standing room only crowd cheered as I watched from the crows nest, not holding my breath, not breathing a sigh of relief but simply catching my breath after a week I would never have imagined could happen to me.

My heart soared to see them bow.  My heart broke to see them go.

No matter what they learned in theater camp this summer can’t possibly compare to what they taught me.