SPOTLIGHT: Kiwanians celebrate performance scholarships

Published 4:00 am Friday, August 4, 2017

The world of pretend is not as “close” as it once was.

In today’s visual world –- in today’s instant-everything, fast-paced world – there are just not as many opportunities for children to pretend, or “play-like.”

But every summer, the Troy University Department of Theater and Dance offers a camp where kids come and pretend to be silly things, magical things, scary things, worrisome things and anythings.

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Summer Spotlight Camp is held each July and teaches creative movement, dance, storytelling and arts and crafts and provides the opportunity for the children to perform in a showcase before a whole house full of people.

Just two weeks ago, the Summer Spotlight Campers presented “Peter Pan” at the Claudia Crosby Theater. Jonathan Cellon was one of many parents who could not wipe away the smiles.

“I was grinning from ear to ear,” Cellon said, with a smile that was probably just as wide in remembrance. “Of course, I might be a little biased.”

Cellon’s daughters were among the 100 plus kids ages 4 to 13 who performed in “Peter Pan.”

“It was a wonderful performance,” he said. “All the kids were great and you could tell they were all having a good time. It was amazing to me that the camp staff did such a remarkable job with so many kids and such a wide age range.”

Cellon said at home, his daughters were more interested in and excited about what they were doing at camp than they were at the big, cheesy pizza before them.

“They just wanted to talk, to tell everything about the camp,” he said. “It was a great experience, an opportunity that every child should have.”

Cellon and fellow Kiwanian Parker Reiss visited with Tori Lee-Averett, Spotlight Camp director, as a follow up to the Troy Kiwanis Club’s donation of several scholarships to the 2017 Summer Spotlight Camp.

Reiss, club vice president, said children are at the heart of all that Kiwanis does.

“At Troy Kiwanis, we realize the importance of children having opportunities to participate in creative activities like those that are offered at Summer Spotlight Camp,” Reiss said. “We provided $400 in scholarship money to make this camp experience available to children who might not be able to attend otherwise. It was money well spent.”

Reiss said Kiwanis is an international organization that touches the lives of children around the world.

“By providing scholarships for Summer Spotlight, we are touching the lives of children here at home,” he said.

Lee-Averett expressed appreciation to the Troy Kiwanis Club for the generous scholarship donation.

The Summer Spotlight Camp has been providing creative drama experiences for children for nine years. For three years, the Troy Kiwanis Club has provided funding for camp scholarships.

“The scholarship are awarded through an application process,” Lee-Averett said. “The kids who receive the scholarships are very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in a creative drama camp. There are many kids who have interests in theater, dance, music and the arts. This is camp gives them the opportunity to explore their interests and to be with other kids who share the same interests. It’s a chance for them to express themselves in a fun and creative way and to, pretend – yes, ‘to play like.’”