Camp Carnegie

Summertime is full of family traditions. Vacations, holidays, and of course, camps. Summer in our house means Camp Carnegie, a theater camp held each summer at The Carnegie, located in Covington, KY.

Offering affordable, multiple weeklong camps throughout the summer makes it easy to fit Camp Carnegie into your summer schedule. During the week campers play theater games, develop and write their scripts, design costumes, props, and backdrops. This may be a theater camp, but it’s absolutely full of opportunities for visual arts participation as well.

Each year the camp tackles a different theme or subject. Past years have included interpreting the works of local visual artists into stories, Adventures of an Underdog, and A Villain’s Tale. This year’s theme is Move Over, Mr. Aesop! and it promises to be lots of fun for little artists, performers and story tellers. What makes Camp Carnegie so special is that these stories are developed, written, and performed by the kids themselves. Instructors are on hand to help encourage and guide the campers, but at all times the creative decisions are kid driven.

As a parent I’ve noticed that each performance is imbued with a subtle lesson. For example, in Adventures of an Underdog, the stories followed the journeys of underdogs who became heroes. A Villain’s Tale reimagined familiar stories, but through the villains perspective. Exploring how events and misunderstandings shaped our perceptions of who these villains were, with an emphasis on empathy. It’s brilliant that these themes are woven into the stories themselves without being overt or too ‘preachy’. Knowing that your child helped create this story, and absorbed the lesson through discussion, writing, and performing is inspiring.

I’m consistently blown away by how much these group of talented kids, of various ages, can do in a single week. From script to stage the kids write, perform, design costumes, props, and backdrops. They then take all of this and put on a performance for family and friends at the end of the week on an actual stage inside of a stunningly beautiful theater. It’s incredible how much they are able to accomplish!

If you ask our daughters what their favorite things about Camp Carnegie are, they’ll tell you it’s the “creativity,” “kind teachers” and “getting to be yourself.” Though one of the first things they mention are friends. Camp Carnegie draws kids from all over the Tri-State area. Many, if not most, are longtime campers and even graduate into becoming youth volunteers when they eventually age out of the experience. These kids get to know one another over the years and it’s fun to watch these friendships develop. Our oldest daughter still texts one of her friends who lives in Indiana. They may only see each other once a year while at Camp Carnegie, but that friendship continues to endure.

Offering an excellent opportunity for creativity, learning, performing and friendships, Camp Carnegie is a hidden gem well worth finding!

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