Archive for category Centauri Arts Camp Staff
Session Four has begun and it is amazing the amount of things that have managed to happen in the past 4 days.
The second night we took a trip to Disneyworld where campers sang and danced to their favourite songs and showed off their knowledge of Disney films. That evening dorms built villages and learned what it takes to be not only self sustaining but environmentally friendly as well.
Two nights ago we celebrated the culture of Quebec with our Quebecois banquet. Campers paraded into dinner where they heard traditional folk songs. Dinner was followed by our very own Winter Carnival. There was dancing, tug of war and many other fun activities. The famous Bonhomme even made a guest appearance. The evening ended with everyone making their way down to the campfire where we heard a retelling of a traditional Huron myth.
Last night campers and staff alike were transformed into super heroes to battle the evil Professor Polyester. Dorms created personas, costumes and powers but in the end it was Julie and Craig who saved the day.
Along with all of these fantastic events campers are enjoying wonderful dorm hours and getting ready for their final presentations in program and today’s Super Mario festival promises to be yet another spectacular day.
Here is a photo of the 2011 counsellor team taken tonight at staff training.
If you want to read the bios of this amazing team, follow this link:
Summer is about to begin!
Given its unique residential structure, it’s not difficult to see that sleep-over camp can offer young people a growth experience to be matched by nothing else. A few years ago, a parent called to book her daughter on to Centauri. While I forget her exact words so many years later, her reason for sending her child away to camp is something I have never forgotten. She told me that her daughter was a lovely person in the process of becoming a teenager – forming opinions and ideas that were very much her own and rejecting the priorities of her parents, as all young adults must. The mom went on to say that she and her husband had realised there was little that they personally could do to guide their daughter at this point in her journey to adulthood – with the notable exception of one thing. They could find her role models whose influence would be positive. Individuals who would provide the guidance that all teens need, at a time when the influence of their parents may be waning. The mom went on to ask a million questions about Centauri, before booking her daughter for the entire summer. Her family was a part of our camp for many years to follow.
The wisdom of this mom that stays with me, long after I have forgotten what she looks like or even her first name. And of all the reasons for sending a child to a sleep-over camp, this still ranks among the best in my view… assuming that a parent takes the time to make sure the camp they are choosing will offer the positive role models they are looking for.
Centauri Open House & Staff Celebration- April 9 2011
Join us on Saturday 9th April here in Toronto and get a little taste of Centauri before the summer begins.
Gillian Sze will read from her brand new poetry collection, Ian Walsh will be offering a demonstration of Stage Combat… and other staff will be sharing their talents, too. Afterwards, there will be refreshments available, and a chance for parents and campers – new and returning – to mingle and chat. The day will end with an Information Session, as the directors talk about camp and answer the questions of our parents and campers. Whether you are a Centauri regular, brand new this year, or just considering camp for the future, join us for this fun Celebration of Centauri!
Space is limited, so please RSVP to email@example.com
When? Saturday 9th April, 2.30pm-5.15pm
Where? Baby Point Clubhouse, 71 Baby Point Rd, close to Jane/Annette in Toronto’s West End
Who? Everyone is welcome… parents and campers – new, returning and future
Cost? Free, though we may take a collection for our school in India – which opens this month!
Celebrating our Theatre Staff at Centauri Arts Camp!
When Centauri first set up 17 years ago, theatre was perhaps our most popular program. It still is, today – though we’ve broken the art form into many specific disciplines, so that campers can choose what they want to specialise in, and be sure of new skills every time they return! Those disciplines include Clown, Improvisation., Classical Theatre, Acting for Film, Play-writing & Performance, Musical Theatre, Stage Combat and much more. So how do we find so many incredible, talented teachers to staff all these choices?
The answer is, we have years of experience behind us! Our faculty grew gradually, and some of the outstanding theatre staff we have at Centauri have been with us for over a decade. When we design our programs each year, we begin by asking our program directors what they want to teach. If we think our campers will like their idea, and they have the necessary skills, we say yes! This is far more effective than designing programs and then trying to fit our staff into them. When an arts professional designs their own program, they end up teaching something they feel passionate about – something that inspires them. And everyone knows that the best teachers are those with inspiration and enthusiasm.
Here are some examples of our incredible theatre staff. As you’ll see, some of them are mature professionals with a wealth of experience to offer. Others are younger professionals with good credentials and proven skills, who received part of their training with us, understand Centauri well, and bring unbelievable energy, passion and enthusiasm to the art form they hope to make their livelihood. In our experience, a combination of both these types of arts staff results in a dynamic and skilled team. Everyone wins!
Valerie Buhagiar joined us on staff for the first time last year and if anyone can claim to be experienced, she can! An award-winning actor and filmmaker, Valerie appeared in such landmark Canadian films as Highway 61 and Roadkill. Her short films have won awards at the Toronto International Film Festival and she has also appeared in Dora award winning theatre productions such as Scorched at the Tarragon Theatre.Valerie just returned from Vancouver where she starred in a one woman show. She has also appeared as Riley’s mom on Degrassi! Valerie has guided and coached young actors for years. She is warm, compassionate and quickly won the campers’ respect and admiration for her wealth of performance knowledge last summer. Valerie will join us for two sessions in 2011, teaching ‘Acting for the Screen and Stage’ in Session Two and ‘Acting for Film’ in Session Four.
Darwin Lyons first joined Centauri as a camper, nine years ago. She worked with us as a counsellor, and returned for her first year as a program director in 2010. Darwin is a graduate of the University of Windsor’s BFA Acting program. She is a founding member of Written on Water Theatre Company appeared in the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year with the play, Edge. Darwin also appeared in the Magnetic North Theatre Festival production of Tough. She returns in 2011 to teach our International Tour campers before they head off to England – interesting, since she herself went on tour with us several years ago! Darwin is astute and compassionate as a teacher and director, and campers loved working with her last summer.
Robyn Levine Shapiro is instrumental to our Musical Theatre programs! Now in her third summer with us, Robyn has been performing professionally in the GTA and across Canada for over twenty years and has had the opportunity to perform in shows such as Mamma Mia! (Original Canadian Cast), Footloose and Cinderella, as well as singing on stage and television. Robyn has been teaching musical theatre, singing and acting for the past six years. She is the Artistic Director of Discover Your Talent, a company that specializes in private and group vocal and acting training. Robyn is working towards her Master’s of Education at York University, focusing on the role the arts play in the cognitive and social development of young people.
For a full list of program director bios, you can go to
So just how do we choose our arts program staff?
The staff who make up a summer camp’s leadership are absolutely essential to whatever that camp stands for – and that’s why we have a clear and uncompromising philosophy when it comes to hiring the program directors who run our arts camps! Here’s what we look for. The essentials. No ifs, no buts! Think of any program director at Centauri, and you’ll see what I mean!
1. They must be good people. Notice how this comes first, before anything else? They must be outstanding role models. People of integrity. Someone we’d be proud to leave in charge of our own daughter. They must also be positive, life-affirming, giving and fun-loving. After all – we’re a camp, too!
2. They must be skilled teachers, able to inspire and enthuse young people, and talented in the passing on of knowledge. They must be willing to grow and learn as teachers, meeting the needs of each person as an individual, whatever their ability and challenges. They must be willing to plan in detail before camp, and adaptable enough to throw plans out the window if the group needs something different. Notice how this comes second, and before arts credentials? That’s because I’ve met plenty of arts professionals who don’t make good teachers. Teaching passion and ability is essential.
3. They must be active in the arts, with a wealth of proven knowledge and skill to pass on to our campers. This is carefully worded. Most of our program directors are arts professionals. Most of them are graduates of top notch arts programs in universities. Most of them have years of experience behind them. ALL of them are knowledgeable and skilled.
4. Our program director team in every session must be ‘balanced’. Plenty of ‘tried and tested’ returners our campers already love, but always a few carefully-chosen new people to infuse our community with fresh ideas. Plenty of very experienced and highly respected professionals, but also some younger professionals who can bring up-to-date knowledge, inspiration and hope for the future of the arts. Most of these younger professionals have been trained, in part, by us. They understand what the arts mean at Centauri – community, personal discovery, collaboration and so on. And they are also excellent role models for our older campers, showing just what ‘making a living’ in the arts really means
Each year at about this time, we take our Senior Staff Team North to a cottage by a lake. Included in the group are the Heads of Dorms, Junior Counsellor Liaison, Teaching Evaluators, Head of Tech, Assistant Director, Program Director Co-ordinator and Camp Directors. People came from far and wide, with Calypso flying from New York, and Maria from Minnesota. The goal each year is to focus on team-building, get to know each other better, and to begin planning for the summer!
For these reasons, it’s a pretty exciting event. The weather this year was just glorious. Glistening snow, sparkling ice, sunshine and clear, starry nights. We cooked together, tobogganed together (literally – see the photo of 2 Mentor-Counsellors crammed on one child’s toboggan!), snow shoed, cross country skied, took a skating lesson with Aaron (!!) and stared in wide-eyed wonder at dozens of white-tailed deer. Just as importantly, we spent many intense hours planning the summer! We now know exactly what thrilling, exciting festivals will be offered this year, and we created the structure for staff training. We (the Directors) also ran training sessions for all the Mentor-Counsellors on what it means to be Senior Staff at Centauri.
At the end of the weekend, we posed for the obligatory Group Shot. As we climbed back into the cars for the long drive back to civilization we mused on what the weekend had meant for us all. “It’s like a little taste of camp in the middle of the Winter…” one MC said. The reply: “Yeah. I want camp to start today. I can’t believe we have to wait four more months.”
But really, summer 2010 starts NOW. My desk is piled high with ideas I need to sort. Planning for camp begins
TODAY… and like the rest of the Senior Staff, I just can’t wait…