Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Will You Do With YOUR Kids This Summer???

KidsAct! Rehearsal

By Jennifer Clark, WWT Marketing Director & KidsAct! Mom

School lets out in 2 weeks. In my mind, as a working parent, is the ever-present Summer Vacation Question: What am I going to do with my kids?

Seven years ago, I stumbled upon an answer that has kept my children enthralled and excited every summer. KidsAct!When my son was six years old, he was interested in typical boy stuff, including sword-fighting pirates and heroes. As I researched camps, it won’t surprise you that I didn’t find many that offered sword-fighting as an option. One did … KidsAct! (grades 1-8).

Now, seven years later, my son is ready to embark upon his “Senior Year” in KidsAct!-- he can hardly wait to start the program August! He’s enjoyed the benefits with opportunities few kids can boast about. He’s handled a sword every summer and fought choreographed swordfights. Plus, he’s performed one of these fights while reciting lines from Macbeth. During his seven years in the KidsAct! program, Jarod has done scenework from Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet (yes, he performed the Balcony Scene at 8 years old), Macbeth, Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Tempest. Plus, he’s the only kid from the program who can say he PERFORMED in the Main Production. At only 9 years old, he auditioned and was cast in Macbeth, giving him the unique opportunity to perform in THREE fight scenes, including a death scene, in a professional theater production.

As a mom, I can tell you that his KidsAct! experience transfers to his school life. He’s a confident 13 year old who can speak well in front of others, participating in the Optimist Club Speech Competition these past few years. Plus, he’s become a key volunteer for the Water Works Theatre Company – but that’s another blog.

Swordfighting isn’t the only draw. And now my daughter, only a baby when her brother began his experience with KidsAct!, is in her second summer with the program. The big attraction for her isn’t swords … it’s the unique dancing and improvisation she learns and performs. Her enthusiasm drew two of her best friends into the program – one of them even drives from Grosse Pointe to come to Starr-Jaycee Park ! A chance to learn Shakespeare, act, do improvisational exercises and even work with swords is unique for any child. Each of these girls has acquired a level of confidence while enjoying the opportunity to perform on the Water Works Theatre stage in the park.

I can tell you that Water Works, first a special experience for my kids, has given me my own unique challenges and memories as a member of the Water Works Theatre Company Staff. I’ve met so many people, faced my own challenges and had such fun as the Events & Community Marketing Director and Park Hospitality Manager. But wait … that’s even a different blog … J

Next year, Jarod has a new Water Works challenge to look forward to … He will make the transition and graduate to the Water Works Academy (grades 9-12) . He can hardly wait to experience this next level of theatrical education. More scenework … more one-on-one training … more opportunities to learn and grow and become more confident. Shakespeare shaped by the hands of high school students. Even I’m excited to see where he goes as his Water Works education continues!

So, what are you going to do with YOUR kids this summer? Both my kids are going to KidsAct!

To learn more about KidsAct! (grades 1-8) and Water Works Academy (grades 9-12) please  visit

Water Works Academy Student Actors