"Welcome home!” With months of waiting now in your rearview mirror, you step off the bus and don’t recognize a single face. People all around are smiling and waving, hugging and cheering. You don’t know anyone. Yet.
This week, at summer camps across the country, children of all ages are embarking on new adventures. Here at Acting Manitou, we are grateful to have a head start with all of our new campers: a love of theater. One of our favorite questions—for new and returning campers alike—is “what shows did you do this year?” The shared experience of working on a show allows our new campers to slip seamlessly into our community, often without realizing it. And for our campers who are ready to jump into theater for the first time in beautiful Oakland, Maine, the collaborative nature of theater provides a warm and welcoming world to step into.
While making friends can be the most daunting task facing a new camper, the opportunities to do so come early and often. From our buddies who we check in with throughout audition day to our first lunch where we eat together with our bunks, even the shyest camper is welcomed into their bunk/class/cast in no time at all. And with so many different activities offered at AM, each camper is grouped with a wide variety of other campers, not just by bunk or age.
Each of us has lived through being a newcomer. “Will I fit in?” “Will people like me?” These questions are expected and natural when you find yourself in a new place, no matter how excited you are to be there. How could this place possibly live up to your expectations? At Acting Manitou, we believe the answer lies in community. The people—campers and staff alike—are what make this place unique. In just three short weeks, that first step off the bus will feel like a lifetime ago. And next year you’ll be welcoming a new camper home.