Global group sings, dances and forms bonds in heartland
By KVNO News
August 23rd, 2011
By Felicia Mesadieu
Omaha, NE – Children and teens traveled from all over the country and the world to the heartland this summer to sing, dance, perform and form life-long bonds of friendship.
The excitement and energy of a very diverse group of entertainers: black, white, Canadian, Japanese teens and junior high school students, filled the room at the Young Americans workshop earlier this summer. Many traveled across the nation to the heartland to create new friendships and experiences by sharing their love for music and dance through performance. (Click Listen Now to hear The Young Americans perform)
Dancer Katja Patry, 16, flew in all the way from Germany to attend the workshop. â€œIâ€™ve taken many workshops in Germany,â€ Patry said, â€œI went last year, and The Young Americans just give me so much energy and love, and itâ€™s just so fun to be with them.â€
The Young Americans is an internationally acclaimed performance group that hosts workshops around the world, and has partnered with Midland University in Fremont to create a two week workshop for aspiring artists and entertainers. This year was the second of the workshop in the heartland, and itâ€™s become a familiar name among many Nebraskans. Associate Producer, T.J. Stoltz said, â€œI like the fact that itâ€™s kind of secluded in a smaller town, cozy, makes the camp atmosphere a little better.â€
The camp is funded through camperâ€™s registration and donations. Stoltz said over 60% of the campers have returned to the camp from the first year, with over 200 campers participating in the workshop this summer.
â€œOur hope overall is for them to experience what we love about the outreach tour that we do,â€ Stotlz said, â€œwhich is an atmosphere of no competitiveness. Doing what you want to do in the art area or entertainment area, and not feel like youâ€™re being judged, not feel like youâ€™re having to compete for a solo necessarily.â€ (Click Listen Now to hear The Young Americans perform)
â€œThatâ€™s our tool,â€ Stoltz said, â€œand then past that, we really just want them to learn about themselves.â€
In addition to promoting a non competitive hobby, The Young Americans utilizes its camp activities to integrate different cultures and ages and foster new friendships.
â€œThe Young Americans themselves, the cast, is made up of all walks of life,â€ Stoltz said. â€œEverywhere we go, we have students that are interested, or get curious in us and want to audition. So we have people from Japan, we have people from New Zealand, we have people from Germany, we have people from all over the United States that come together and make this cast.â€
â€œSo now students are able to see all these different walks of life together as a unit, as a team, as a cast.â€
California native, Caitlin Oden, 20, said she has learned a valuable message from the camp. â€œAt first you might not know anyone,â€ Oden said, â€œBut and then you become so close, you just become like one, and you just have friends from all over the world.â€
More information on The Young Americans can be found here.
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