Pushing My Limits Through Music

"Teddy Roosevelt once said, ‘Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing.’ And I would add that what makes work worth doing is getting to do it with people that you love.”

-Leslie Knope


As a young kid, I always loved school. Academic learning came fairly easily to me, and I enjoyed immersing myself in it. Like many of the campers in this program, I was a self-starter and seldom needed to be reminded to complete my homework. There were a number of times that I was grounded from reading and forced to go play outside with my sisters. School was a huge part of my identity.

I started playing piano as soon as I had learned to read; I would borrow my sisters' piano books and teach myself what I could at the keys. Unlike mathematics or spelling, subjects in which I could earn an objective perfect score, music provided me a consistent challenge. I could always do something more beautifully or artistically. I was never finished with the quest to be my best.


In third grade I was old enough to join the school choir, and I did so without a second thought. I've been involved with choir ever since. As a kid who not particularly athletically gifted, my choir became my team. I loved working together to accomplish something and then sharing in the joy of our success. In the rest of my classes, I only worked to improve myself. It was an inward focus. When I went to choir, I was part of a group, and my commitment to success directly impacted everyone around me.

When I entered middle school, I continued to love academics, but choir and show choir were just about all I talked about when I came home from school each day. When I came to camp the summer after seventh grade, I saw so many students stepping outside their comfort zones through music and dance. For me, those parts of camp were my comfort zone. My challenge was to feel comfortable socially with such a large group of people. Through that experience, I saw how everyone at camp had different strengths to offer. Combining all those strengths together made our show a success year after year.


Sometimes campers come in wondering why singing and dancing are such an integral part of our camp experience. This is a legitimate question. While I would never denigrate the learning that can take place in a classroom (remember, I'm a graduate student myself and spend hours each week listening to lectures, reading journals, and writing essays), I think that a huge part of camp is undertaking a big project and making it as close to perfect as possible. The show requires the collaboration of every camper and staff member. Over a hundred people work toward a common goal together. Most of these people are perfectionists, and yet they are fully aware that the show can never be perfect. It's the process, however, which can indeed be perfect. How magical it is when everyone commits to doing their best work!

As a staff member, seeing campers grow through performing on stage continues to invigorate me year after year. That's why I've come home from wherever I've lived—South Dakota, Illinois, Arizona, and now Louisiana—over the past nine summers. I love the power our art has to unite us. As we work—some of us harder than we knew we could—to learn our harmonies and clean our dance steps, we unite toward one shared vision. It's that teamwork that makes camp so magical.


There's still time to claim your spot at this summer's camp! Click here to register before June 14.