Ahhsha Crooks, an eighth-grader at Scofield Middle School in Stamford, last year participated in the first session of a brand-new New Canaan summer camp that brings together local middle school girls with girls from cities such as Stamford and Bridgeport, to empower them and gain new confidence through exploring their interests and passions.
While she enjoyed the sports activities of Camp LiveGirl, Crooks said more offerings might have made the experience even better.
“I am really excited for the musical theater program,” Crooks said on a recent afternoon. “Last year it was only sports and it’s nice to try new things.”
Thanks to a new partnership with Summer Theatre of New Canaan, the LiveGirl campers this summer will explore the performing arts, with the guidance from the nonprofit organization’s professional staff.
Camp LiveGirl launched last summer, and founder and director Sheri West of New Canaan is taking applications now for the upcoming July 25 to 29 session.
West said she was inspired to collaborate with Summer Theatre of New Canaan after noticing her campers’ love for performing.
“At the leadership series we typically do mini-talent-shows and it emerged that there are many girls who like to sing and dance and they are quite talented,” West said.
West said she is especially excited to offer the new theater program to the girls in neighboring towns such as Stamford and Norwalk, where participants may not have the same resources available to them.
“This is really an enrichment for the girls outside of New Canaan, and I feel fortunate to be able to give them something that they don’t get in the normal scope of their school,” West said.
Claire Brunner, a rising freshman at New Canaan High School who attended LiveGirl with Crooks and about 100 other girls last summer, recalled an important lesson that she already has taken away from the camp.
“We all come from different backgrounds and different places, and those places don’t define us—it is our personalities that define us,” Brunner said.
LiveGirl’s mission to empower young girls extends far beyond the summer session. Throughout the year West prepares leadership summits, one-on-one mentoring, seminars with guest speakers, and many more programs that are featured on her website: golivegirl.com.
For Melody Libonati, artistic director of Summer Theatre of New Canaan, it is an honor to get more kids involved in the performing arts.
“From our perspective, giving them the opportunity to work with professionals from the theatre world to do some singing, acting and dancing,” Libonati said. “The performing arts is very popular with teenagers and it gives them a lot of confidence and an opportunity to do something they haven’t done before.”