“Work Hard. Play Hard. Dream Big. Go Far” by Carla Rodriguez

“What new spaces can you enter to renew your energy, reignite your passion, and open up to new possibilities?” 

Two months ago, we came together to breathe fresh life into our Dare to Go Beyond Children’s Performing Arts Camp. We brought together a team of individuals who gave their time, energy, and talents to kids from all over for a unique weeklong experience.

I believe that the time for reflection always helps us see lessons, gifts, and moments with a little more clarity. This year is no exception.

What are you afraid of?  We asked this question to our campers this year and we were met with an honesty and authenticity that caused us all to pause and think. Our young people are acutely aware of what is happening in our world and they are pushing themselves and us to do better. Many of the same things that frighten and concern us every day are the same things that are on their minds. However, they don’t often have a space to express what is on their mind. So what did we do? We listened. Their transparency caused us to take a hard look at what we were bringing into the room every day. How were we opening space for those kids to be free and at the same time encourage discipline and respect for others? How were we going to create and define the culture of our groups? How could we be living examples of leaders for them to look up to? I know that these questions were on our minds as we came back each day.

I’m so happy and proud to say, I believe we rose to the challenge and worked together to make magic. This year at camp, I saw kids create spaces where they supported each other.  They became comfortable speaking their truths, challenging their fears, and moment by moment rebuilding each other’s spirit and confidence. I saw team leaders and camp directors stretch themselves and lean on each other to think outside of the box for new ways to captivate and maintain their campers’ attention and energy. Someone was facing a fear every day and no one was doing it alone. 

This year’s theme for our Dare to Go Beyond Children’s Performing Arts Camp was “Art Rebuilds, Tu Arte Reconstruye”. We are living in a time where people and places need to be rebuilt every day. There are natural disasters that are impacting homes and communities. We are facing battles to strengthen our mental, physical, and spiritual health. People are working to maintain and strengthen their families. All of this can easily become overwhelming; but when that starts to happen, I often find grounding in a happy thought.  At R.Evolución Latina, we are fortunate to be surrounded by a collective of people full of tools to help each other rebuild our lives. Each person that comes through brings a piece of their journey and leaves connection ripple behind.   

As I look forward, I think, how will we continue to help each other rebuild? What tools do you have that can help someone else rebuild? Our youngest campers are usually the ones that remind us the importance of play and imagination. They show us that when life has us feeling stuck, imagining new possibilities can often bring us to unforeseen and fun solutions. This year, we entered new space and were rushed with energy and excitement.

What new spaces can you enter to renew your energy, reignite your passion, and open up to new possibilities? The camp team often discusses that we hope this week can be a human experience. Yes, we are using the tools that the arts give us to create together but our goals are deeply rooted in creating space for human connection, vulnerability, and growth. My hope is that each person that participates in our camp, whether as a participant or volunteer, leaves with new tools and inspiration they can carry forward. The more tools we have, the better equipped we are to continue using art to rebuild our world. As we do this work, we will slowly infuse lives with a little more love and hopefully, cultivate more happiness. 

Carla Rodriguez, D2GB Camp Program Coordinator

Watch R.Evolución Latina’s Camp 2018