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Camp focuses on young stars

Sixty-five Pike County youngsters stepped into the spotlight Thursday night and were greeted by the enthusiast applause of an appreciative audience at the Trojan Center Theater on the campus of Troy University.

The “Spotlight Showcase” was the culminating activity for the 2009 Summer Spotlight creative drama camp for children and youth held at Troy University July 12-16.

The camp was sponsored by the Troy University College of Communication and Fine Arts and the Fine-Arts Department of Theater and Dance. It was the first camp of its kind at the university but it won’t be the last said Adena Moree, director, Department of Theater and Dance.

“This was a great week and it’s just amazing to me how creative and imaginative young people can be,” Moree said. “But somewhere between fifth grade and older age, there are forces at work to take that out of us.”

Moree said the 65 young people, ages four through 12, were troopers all week long.

“We’ve been here from early morning until late afternoon and I’m sure that they all went home exhausted but they were right back here the next morning ready to go.”

The campers participated in classes in acting, puppetry, stage choreography and management, musical theater, mask construction, singing, dance, costume design, performing for an audience, improvisation and sets, props and lights.

“On Thursday afternoon, we had to stop and begin putting a product together so that others could see what we’ve been doing all week long,” Moree said. “These campers worked hard and it’s inspiring to see what they have done. They all did an outstanding job and they performed on stage like the troopers they are.”

Moree said the Summer Spotlight camp was a pilot program and the response was greater than expected.

“We could easily have had 100 kids but we had to cut the camp off at some point,” she said. “Because of the great success of the camp, it will be an annual event and will sit in the same slot as this year.

“We’ll begin now examining how we can make the 2010 camp better. We’ll look to see if there were things that we did wrong and what we can do to make the camp an even richer experience and what we can do to include more disadvantaged children.”

Tori Lee Averett, camp director, said the camp was an action-packed week filled with many success stories.

“Everybody worked hard and had a great time,” she said. “It was a great week and the campers were awesome, absolutely awesome. We can start now looking forward to next year.”

Moree said there is no doubt in her mind that the camp was a great success and that the young people who attended did so at a premium price.

“I really think that the campers got a $350-week camp experience for a hundred dollars,” she said. “In addition to the Summer Spotlight Camp, we are hoping to host a residential two-week camp for all the performing arts. That might be too big thinking for this point in time. But a camp like that could attract people from all over the state and also be an avenue to help train teachers in the arts and theater programs.”