a week in The Jungle

smiles are infectious. after spending a week with Upper Valley Connection theater camp while they learned and performed The Jungle Book, it makes me realize how much we take happiness for granted. I can honestly say, each and every day of camp, i was happy, seeing how happy and grateful these kids are to be involved in the production. Its what we should all be searching for in our everyday lives, but the pressures of life usually take over and we forget this simple fact that all of these kids and participants can teach us - do what makes you happy :)

Upper Valley Connections was started by a community of parents of kids with special needs, to organize group activities so they can meet, socialize and have fun together. It provides these amazing kinds and young adults the opportunity to put on a play, participate in organized sports, and have group outings. They are given the chance to explore themselves and their abilities at new adventures they might not otherwise have.This was their 8th year doing theater camp, and second year performing The Jungle Book.

i was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer for the week, and was paired with an amazing girl, Sarah. Sarah is 22 and LOVES comic book movies! She had so much to say about the Avengers, Thor, Star Wars, and was especially looking forward to the new Spiderman movie (as was i!) its lucky for her that i'm a huge nerd and also love these things :) This was Sarah's first year doing theater camp and absolutely loved it! Her twin sister, Rachel, was also a first-time participant. Being a volunteer, i basically shadowed Sarah in rehearsals, helping her to learn her lines, sing out during the songs, and remember placement on stage. It really is a lot of hard work for these kids to put on a play in a weeks time! Sarah was so incredible that, unlike most of the volunteers, i didn't have to be on stage with her during her scenes!

the people that put together this week of camp are unreal..the level of commitment they have, the enthusiasm they bring, the time, effort, love and support given is incredible.  i was fortunate enough to have an "in" with the director (my wonderful mother), so i got to see all the behind-the-scenes action of getting everything put together and organized, re-writes, lighting checks, costume-making....the list goes on and on. it is quite remarkable how everything gets pulled off in the end!

i've included a collection of photos from the week that i hope capture the spirit of theater camp, upper valley connections, and these amazingly talented, spirited, and loving group of people!