At the end of four weeks of music camp, staff approached us and asked if we might consider sending the kids to two more weeks of theater arts camp. Music camp is an inclusion camp for typicals, and kids with special needs. There are aides assigned to the kids who need them. Riley’s former aide from public school has accompanied her there for three summers now.
Theater arts camp is not an inclusion camp. They don’t generally take campers with special needs. We decided if all the pieces fell into place, they found an aide (Riley’s aide had plane tickets and was heading west for a family visit), we found the money, if Riley and Seth actually wanted to do it….if it was all meant to be, it would happen.
Today was their third day of theater arts camp. Riley is paired with an aide she does not know. An 18 year old who will be off to college soon. All the better since she blends right in as a counselor and Riley no longer wants to be identified as the kid with the aide. As far as the other campers know, this girl is just staff.
So yesterday, when I picked the kids up, one of the main directors of this session signaled to me. She wanted to talk. In private.
My stomach sank. Maybe Riley had a hard time. Maybe being with an aide she didn’t know had thrown her off. Maybe she’s worn out from the four weeks of camp before this. Walking in the door, I braced myself. Four staff members were there waiting to speak with me.
Turns out they wanted to cast Riley in the lead role for the final production. They wanted my opinion to see if I thought she could handle it. It’s a big role with solos and tons of dialogue.
There had not been a problem. Our girl is kicking butt!
So after talking with Riley some last night to feel her out, and determining she’d be okay with it, and after talking with the staff to make sure they have an understudy prepared, just in case….Ms. Riley O’Neil was announced as the lead role at camp today.
Her part in this original production?