BREMERTON — Drama camp for kids isn’t just about them reciting lines someone else wrote for them. It’s about teaching children life skills and boosting confidence.
“Children who may never step foot into a community theater program, or even be interested in acting, benefit from our program to build their abilities to express themselves,” said Sue Pargman, a director for the Drama Kids of Kitsap County, Edmonds and Shoreline.
The Drama Kids camp is coming to Bremerton for the first time this year. It’ll be open to children ages 6-11, and be held 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 31 to Aug. 4 at the Sheridan Park Community Center, 680 Lebo Blvd., Bremerton.
Pargman said the camp is “a developmental drama program that focuses on children learning skills that build their confidence, public speaking abilities, creative thinking, listening skills, team work, language, movement and self-expression through drama activities.”
“Kids will begin to develop these skills by learning the art of telling jokes, doing improvisation, designing a costume, practicing pantomime and acting in mini-plays,” she said.
Plus, it’s fun for the whole family: at the end of the week, family and friends are invited to come and see a short program the students will perform.
This is the third year this program has existed; other camps are held in Edmonds and Bainbridge Island.
“Those classes are pretty much filled, probably because they already know us in those communities by our positive reputation to build confidence, communication and creativity skills in boys and girls,” Pargman said. “We’re new to Bremerton this summer, so we hope to reach kids here for the first time.”
Pargman said they need at least 10 children enrolled to “make the class a ‘go,’ ” and have a limit of 20 kids, after which they’ll start a waiting list.
“(What they learn in camp) are skills they’ll use for a lifetime — to think outside the box, speak up with a strong voice, express their thoughts clearly, cooperate with others’ ideas, be part of building and supporting unified creative ideas, finding their voice,” Pargman said. “It can’t happen after only one summer camp — but it’s a great start. I encourage kids to enter Drama Kids classes early, and stick with the program for as long as they can to get the greatest benefit.”
Aside from the summer camps, Drama Kids also holds school-year-long programs for all ages: a KinderKids class for preschool kids, Drama Kids for primary-school students and Acting Academy for kids ages 12-18. These classes meet one day each week, and last about an hour.
“We take our after-school classes to schools who invite us in, and to Parks and Recreation centers, as well as private students,” Pargman said.
They currently have plans to teach classes at Marsh Studio and First Class Homeschool Co-Op, both in Poulsbo, in Kitsap for the 2017-18 school year, as well as a couple places outside Kitsap, but are still planning their schedule and “may include more classes, depending on who contacts us and expresses an interest first.
“We can start a year-long class anywhere in Kitsap County with a minimum of 10 kids interested,” Pargman added.
These programs include mid-year presentations, parent participation days, awards to highlight how each student progressed throughout the year and a final spring play.
They also do an anti-bullying program, Pargman said, “for groups where kids learn through acting our various scenarios what bullying is, what it is not and how to discourage bullying.”
“We can come to your church, your school, a studio, a clubhouse — anywhere that there are at least 10 kids and a large, safe space for them to move, act and have fun playing fast-paced drama games,” Pargman said. “So many parents tell me that these classes have changed their children in positive ways.”
For more information about Drama Kids, visit dramakids.com. Registration deadline for the Bremerton summer camp is July 24; registration can be done online at dramakids.com/kitsap-county-edmonds-wa/camps-events.