Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stories to Grow From

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The second session of HTHTA began on July 28, with campers ages 7-10. Stay tuned to discover different camp activities during Session 2.

Campers were almost finished with their first day of camp, and there couldn’t have been a more perfect way to tame their raging excitement than to listen to stories from professional story teller Susan O’Halleron. Susan has appeared on T.V. and radio shows and has been published several times. Susan shared many stories with the campers, each one with an enlightening message to help campers deal with loss.

The first story she told was about a butterfly that was removed from his cocoon too soon. The moral of the story was that when we lose someone, we curl up into our own cocoon of grief to deal with the loss. It is important that we do not take someone out of their cocoon too early. Each person has to grieve for as long as it takes until he or she feels ready to come out.

Susan’s next story was about a puzzle. A puzzle contains some ugly and dull pieces, but there are also beautiful ones. A puzzle cannot be completed unless all the pieces come together to make a whole picture. The puzzle is a metaphor for life. In life there are many ugly and dull moments, but the inclusion of those difficult times combines with the wonderful times, making us who we are today.

It is often incredibly difficult to deal with loss. Learning to cope is important to moving on with life. Susan relayed important messages by using stories with fun and relatable characters. Susan used her stories as a tool to help our campers through their own difficult times.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Final Performance a success!

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Providing the kind of material that allows campers to realize their theatrical potential while expressing their personal feelings is a special challenge. Camp Director Nicole Losurdo and Theatre Area Head Anne McNamee have combined to meet that challenge.

Through Anne’s research, she discovered a Russian folk tale that tells the story of an old peasant tailor. The tailor remembers his life as it relates to a piece of cloth, which he uses in various forms throughout his life. Based on this folk tale, Nicole rewrote the story and titled it “Just Enough.” She set the story in Bolivia, an atmosphere which plays well with Latin-influenced music and dance. Thus the protagonist became “Adolfo.” The story is poignant since the cloth allows Adolfo to express the memories he has of life and how they affected him—just as campers have memories that affect their lives.

Of course, the real stars were the campers, as they only had two weeks to learn and perform a full production! Campers worked extremely hard to read the script, work on the roles, music, and the dance numbers.

(Top photo: Campers work on a dance routine during the dress rehearsal. Bottom photo: Campers take their final bow after their Final Performance)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Campers Send Messages of Love

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We don’t always get to say “goodbye.” We don't always have a chance to express important thoughts, never realizing how the window can slam shut without a moment to consider. When that happens, the opportunity is seldom offered to show those thoughts.

HTHTA campers did get a special opportunity to communicate messages of love, memories or maybe even updates on the camper's lives to their lost parents, which most of them were never allowed to say.

On Wednesday afternoon, campers solemnly wrote their thoughts and feelings they wished to tell their parents on a note card and tied it to a helium balloon. Teary eyed HTHTA campers and staff took a walk to Buckingham Fountain where their messages were launched into the bright blue sky and on to their parents.

While the launch is symbolic, campers feel strongly about those unspoken words reaching their loved ones. The Balloon Launch is often the emotional pinnacle of camp, offering closure to campers and staff, alike.

(Top photo: Messages of love are launched into the sky to lost parents. Middle photo: One camper writes her message Bottom photo: HTHTA campers and staff take a group photo after the Balloon Launch)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Music and Theatre and Dance — Oh My!

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Between the morning warm-up, lunch, and the afternoon snack, campers are busily preparing for the talent show this Friday, and the final performance next Friday. How do we prepare? In Music, Theatre and Dance class, of course!

In Music class, students not only learn songs, but create the words and rhythms for new musical compositions.

In Theatre, campers work on stories, skits, and staged adaptations of Tennessee Williams,’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Only kidding! Our theatre is just as good, but much more fun!

Dance class sees campers jumping, sliding, pivoting, and prancing. Some of our Dance Teachers are even from the prestigious Joffrey Ballet, here in Chicago.

Interesting to note, the Joffrey Ballet just opened a brand new building at the corner of Randolph and State Street. — you can see it yourself and check out their fantastic sign!

Each of these arts is explored, mined, and used for campers' benefit.

(Top photo: The HTHTA music staff helps a camper prepare a solo. Bottom photo: Campers learn a dance routine with The Joffrey Ballet.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hands Together, Heart to Art launches its fourth year

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Hands Together, Heart to Art, a special summer camp for children who have lost one or both parents to death, launched this week; and the days have been jam packed with fun. Campers have made new friends, learned about Brazilian drumming, and heard Brett Batterson's story about the loss of his father when he was child. You'll want to check back to hear more about camp this summer - check out the pictures below:

Campers learn about Brazillian drumming.

This camper practices intensely.

If you know of a child who has experienced the death of one or both parents, they can still attend Session Two from July 28 - August 8. Please contact Nicole Losurdo at 312-922-2110 ext. 353.

Help send a child to camp today!

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