These past three weeks I’ve been working with the Special Populations Division of Parks and Recreation with a camp called ArtVentures. We have a director come down from DC who is a professional actor and we basically cast, produce and direct a musical in 14 days. This year’s performance was “The Wizard of Us!” which had selected scenes and songs from both The Wizard of Oz and The Wiz. I was guilted into being Dorothy for the first scene (and the last, but the show was going on so long we cut it–yay) and sang Over the Rainbow. Twas quite tricky due to this cold that has been passed around for three weeks, but I think it went pretty well all things considered. I love using my powers for good.
This year was really interesting. I’ve worked with Parks and Rec since my Junior year of high school and I’ve always been the youngest, inexperienced staffer but this year I was one of the veterans. One of my previous campers and special olympic athletes actually got the chance to work this summer as a junior counselor which was AMAZING to see how much she grew in only three weeks. I couldn’t believe how different it really felt to be older and wiser than last summer. It is incredible. I love being a pseudo-grown up.
While there are certain obstacles, challenges, and frustrations that come with working with special needs children and with a program like this (ie; no budget, no supplies and understaffing), this was probably the best summer I have had so far in my twenty years. The Lord provided such wonderful people to work with and so many opportunities to get to know new campers, older campers better, and their families on levels that I have not yet experienced- and I loved every minute of it.
I can’t believe it’s over already. I am going to miss Janie’s singing and Amy incessant question asking and being beaten by Ben Brode in Uno so much! Like many things in my life it seems lately, it went by way to fast. I really can’t believe it’s over. These kids have so much of my heart. I am so thankful for this opportunity to get to know them, learn from them, teach them and most of all– to love them and be loved by them. What a wonderful group of kids.
This is a picture of Leroy who was our token TinMan for the performance. Sadly I did’t get pictures of any of the other costumes we made, but Tiff and I fashioned a costume out of stuff from the scrap exchange and a “Bride” hat from the dollar spot at Target. Making costumes and props was so fun….I am now a pro with a hot glue gun.
Goodbye June and Hello July! I’ll be working with the “American Experience” FuHsing program at Meredith for the majority of July. This should be a really fun experience, I’ll post more about that later. I’m thinking I’ll try to do a more consistent blog for this program with pictures, just to keep some sort of documentation. I have a feeling it’s going to fly by!