Week 9 at The King Arts Complex: I said I wouldn’t cry

Entering this week, I knew I would feel an array of emotions. Although it was only the second to last week of the fellowship, it was the last week of summer camp. The first emotion was stress. Starting the week with the assignment of making the program for the Final Production, I was then given the last-minute responsibility of running the soundboard and acting as a stagehand. I immediately felt overwhelmed due to my limited knowledge on how to work the equipment necessary to make both a well-designed program and run a soundboard. However, we were understaffed and with most of the additional help at the Complex being older people, I had to do what I do best: adapt and learn. I followed the men who were working the sound and lighting equipment and learned the different terminology to communicate what was needed from the crew during the show. While the campers rehearsed, I looked up videos on designing event programs. From the beginning of my shift to the very end, I was a sponge, absorbing everything I could to ensure that I was being the most efficient. Thankfully I took the time to learn because there were very minor adjustments that needed to be made during the Final Production that could have caused a major issue if I hadn’t been prepared beforehand. Overall, the show was magical and left many of the parents in tears.

After the final production, the last few days were smooth sailing. Giving the kids the opportunity to relax without the stress of the performance was one of the highlights of the week. I got to talk to them about their dreams and aspirations and ask them what they wish could have been better during the camp. On the last day, the kids ate pizza and ice cream and attending an event at COSI. I paused while the kids were running around and I shed a tear. I thought about the freedom the kids felt at that moment. They laughed and were able to embrace the world without fear of anything else. Although I have left my religious upbringing and taken on a more spiritual approach to life, at that moment, I prayed. I prayed that this feeling would never be lost as the kids grew up. I prayed that the young boys who had so openly shared their emotions don’t have toxic masculinity engrained in their hearts. I prayed that the girls who moved so freely in every dance ensemble never face any violence to their bodies. I prayed that they remained hopeful. The most important part of that word being full. Full of joy and jubilance. Full of light and life. Full. When it was finally time for me to leave, I was full. Full of tears and hope. Full of possibility. Attached is a photo before the Final Production.

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