I can say with no hesitation that I was a drama-mama. All of my kids participated in musical theatre in school (that’s my Lumiere to the right) and my son now holds a bachelor’s in vocal performance.

Additionally, I am the former executive director of an arts nonprofit that serves high school performing artists.


All that to say, I LOVE arts camps and am admittedly biased when I say that every kid deserves a summer at art camp. But don’t take my word for it! I invited Morgan Shotwell, Director of Communications & Outreach for Traveling Players Ensemble to share some thoughts with you.

Take it away, Morgan!

With so many specialized camps to choose from, why send your kid to an arts camp? The arts offer tremendous benefits—both obvious ones and surprises:

  • Kids can try something brand new—and in doing so develop a passion. The arts are often marginalized in schools, squeezed out by test preparation and other pressures. Camp is the perfect time for a young person to step outside the familiar—and perhaps discover a new favorite activity. Soccer players find they love to dance; engineers discover that they love building sets. Even kids who already know they like acting may discover that they have skills in vocal music or costume design.
  • Kids develop academic skills. There’s a correlation between the arts and improved academic performance. Theatre supports the development of vocabulary and reading comprehension, as well as interpretive and critical thinking skills.
  • Kids develop life skills. The arts draw out a child’s creativity and inventiveness. They teach kids how to interpret information and make important choices.
  • Perhaps most importantly, the arts teach empathy. What better way for a young person to understand a different perspective than to walk in someone else’s shoes and enact that viewpoint on stage?
  • The arts help kids find their people. The collaborative nature of the arts draws students into community with one another, and they leave an arts camp with friends they would not have met otherwise—friends they often keep for a lifetime.
  • The arts are especially welcoming to queer kids, who are willing to think outside of established norms. Their identity is celebrated—not questioned—especially in fields like dance and theatre that historically have been a home for queer people.

Traveling Players Ensemble, a youth theatre, has been a celebratory space for LGBTQIA+ kids for over two decades. Traveling Players believes that artistic creation is fundamental to identity, especially for teens in their unique and complex transition to adulthood. We give kids a safe space to explore themselves through artistic expression and provide an outstanding theatre experience for students that contributes to their maturity.

Our students create theatre in small ensembles, which are founded on the principles of inclusion, diversity, and equality. Most student time is spent in ensemble – groups of 12-15 actors/technicians where each student’s personal and artistic abilities are celebrated and developed. Students take part in every aspect of production and performance – from page to stage, from load-in to strike.

Queer kids are more than just welcomed at Traveling Players; they are central to our community. We structure the camp in a way that is hospitable to the needs of queer kids. Nestled in Leesburg VA, our campus includes three lodges to provide maximum flexibility for sleeping and bathroom arrangements. And our intangible structures support queer kids, too. Our community values each story and storyteller, and our all campers become careful listeners and supporters of different perspectives. The arts—and theatre in particular—help them discover themselves and their abilities in a safe and nurturing space.

Thank you for sharing this with our community, Morgan! And thank you for being a part of Queer Camp Fair as a Rainbow tier camp!

Wondering if an arts camp is right for your child? I can help, give me a call!