A cool Summer camp and hot topic
ummer time, summer time, sum-, sum, sum- summer camp time! Here's a taste of a local summer camp experience that my daughter, Lexi Parkins, had and that I was able to share in.
Lexi attended Theater Connect, a theater day camp for teens hosted by the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, the UF Health Youth Gender Program. Camp participants enjoyed a day-long workshop with theater games, improvisation, community building, awareness, and discussion during the day sponsored by the Pride Community Center, and the Real Meal. That evening, parents joined their kids for dinner at the camp at UF. After dinner, we all went to the Hippodrome for a special production of Elise Forier Edie's The Pink Unicorn, which was followed by a Talk Back panel discussion.
Lexi enjoyed her Theater Connect Experience: "It was really fun and exciting. I met a lot of cool people and made some friends. Everyone was accepting and caring. Most of us were nervous at first, but by lunchtime, we were all talking and laughing and joking with each other."
In just one day, friendships were being formed, sleepovers being planned, and contact information being exchanged.
Who would think so much fun AND a play performance could be packed into a one-day summer camp?
Director of Theater Connect Jeffrey Pufahl, called the theater camp a success. "We did a workshop on identifying and working with our strengths and then we explored issues identified by the group through Image Theater. "
Image theater is a "flexible tool for exploring issues, attitudes and emotions both with groups who are confident with drama and those with little or no experience.
After President Trump's recent tweet saying he was banning transgender people from the military, the sugject matter of The Pink Unicorn is a hot topic – it's a mother telling the story of her ups and downs when her daughter announces that she will be going to high school not as Jolene, but as a gender-neutral teen named Jo.
The Pink Unicorn is a rollercoaster of emotions. Trish's retelling of her story is hilarious at times, sad at others. Uncomfortable, relatable, real, audience members learn about the different attitudes and feelings that surround gender, sexuality, diversity, and acceptance and about the fight for acceptance and equality of persons like Jo/Jolene.
After the play, Jeffrey Pufahl, actor Kristi Friday (the mother, image above), and two health professionals, Dr. Anyaliese Hancock-Smith and Dr. Cindi Gayle, discussed the play with the audience. The theater camp kids, who sat together to watch the play, were very engaged throughout the play and the panel discussion.
This was a one-day theater camp, but participants and camp staff are planning to reunite in the Fall: The Theater Connect team is currently working on putting together an 8-week course this fall from September 5 to October 24 with sessions on Tuesday from 7-9 pm. For more information or to sign up, contact Jeffrey Pufahl at firstname.lastname@example.org. FOLLOW THIS LINK formore Arts In Medicine information.