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Don’t spare me the drama, kids

POULSBO — While most parents are used to their children’s “dramatics,” and often find them a tad tiresome, others are tapping into the potential — in a way.

The first of two acting camps got underway this week as Poulsbo Parks and Recreation’s creative drama sessions hit the stage at the Poulsbo Library. The camp teaches much more than acting though, said instructor Kimberly Parker, it also encourages children to utilize the mental playgrounds they possess.

“I want them to use their imaginations,” she said. “They learn a lot while they’re having fun. They learn so much without even realizing it — they’re acquiring listening skills and team building skills.”

Parker believes children attending the camp gain self-assurance and strengths that will benefit them throughout their lives.

“In this environment they’re learning how to speak and perform in front of others. If they learn that at a young age, it will be easier for them to do it for the rest of their lives,” she said. “It instills confidence into each child.”

To this end, the five-day camp is designed for children to enjoy the world of acting to the fullest.

“There’s not a lot of pressure. These kids are just beginners,” Parker said. “The skits will be impromptu. They will learn to make decisions on the run.”

Parker said the program isn’t designed to create Oscar-caliber actors — not at this age at least.

“We’re not trying to make actors,” she said. “The goal is to teach children social skills and life skills they can take with them forever.”

Parker said children are typically shy when they first arrive, but tend to open up to their fellow campers as the week progresses.

“It takes awhile for them to build their trust up in one another,” Parker said. “But as the week goes on you can see them meshing well together.”

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the program is seeing children overcome their fears of public speaking, Parker said.

“Some children are intimidated to talk in front of other people,” she said. “Seeing those conquer their fear by the end of the week is great.”

Parker said another excellent part of camp is seeing students achieve and think creatively.

“It’s rewarding seeing how creative they can be,” she said. “They have wonderful dialogues and come up with some great ideas. You can tell they’re enjoying themselves.”

Seven-year-old Maddie Adams was all smiles during camp on Wednesday afternoon.

“I like putting on a show,” she said. “We get to dress up and have all kinds of props.”

Adam Parker, 10, agreed.

“I like having the props (costumes) and performing skits,” he said. “Acting is pretty much what I want to do when I grow up. I want to be a professional actor.”

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