Scroll down for answers to Parent Frequently Asked Questions in these categories:
- Teachers & Other Personnel
- Program & Curriculum
- Summer Camp
- Parent Involvement
- Youth Company Chicago Organization
TEACHERS & OTHER PERSONNEL
Who are your teachers, designers & directors?
We recruit and work with theatre professionals for whom educating kids is a passion. Our Teaching Artists are great teachers who happen to also be great artists - not great artists who teach for extra income. Our Teaching Artists and all other personnel (like designers, stage managers, etc) are screened vigorously to ensure they are a great fit for our programs - they are high-energy, collaborative, and kid-centered.
Do your instructors and directors have to undergo background checks?
Yes, all of the staff members who have regular contact with young people undergo a criminal background check before they are hired.
PROGRAM & CURRICULUM
Are there auditions for your programs?
At this time, we do not require auditions for most of our programs. An exception is the new Teen Ensemble. In order to be successful in our Pre-K thru 7th programs, students should have the ability to focus; exhibit characteristics of patience, cooperation; and positive attitude. Our ensemble-based approach to casting and rehearsing gives young performance of all experience- and ability-levels the opportunity to be successful. For Summer 2013 Level 4 programs, permission may be required - based on behavior, past attendance, and potential for success in a more intensive program.
Do you have programs for students younger than Kindergarten? What about pre-teens and teens?
Our 2013 summer camps serve Ages 4-5 and Grades K-7. We also now offer a Teen Ensemble, including the show "Avenue Q - School Edition" in Summer 2013. In Spring 2013, we will explore pre-school classes, adult workshops and dance classes. A day-time homeschool program will be piloted in Fall 2013.
What specific skills will my child learn in the program?
Our programs are intended to be well-rounded - with skill-building in acting, singing, and moving - as well as some exposure to the technical theater like costumes, scenic, and props. As a licensed classroom teacher, our artistic director ensures that students' learning in the program correlates with as much of the state and national curriculum in the Visual and Performing Arts as possible. Prior to the start of each program, parents receive a brief syllabus, which lists the specific learning objectives for the program or camp. We also will explain a bit more about the curriculum and answer your questions at our opening parent meeting on the first day of the program.
What does a typical summer camp day look like?
Camps are structured to be a great blend of skill-building, rehearsing for the show, exploring theatre and other arts, and recreational/social activities. Although each day of the week is slightly different, a "typical" day for Grades 3-6 might look like this:
- 9:00am - 9:10am - Sign-in, reflective activity (like a journal or an art project or personal goal-setting)
- 9:10am - 9:30am - Circle & Warm-Ups (where we cover the schedule for the day, talk about our group goals for the day, and get our bodies & brains ready to work)
- 9:30am - 10:15am - Music Rehearsal (with our professional Music Director)
- 10:15am - 10:25am - Snack Break
- 10:25am - 11:30am - Blocking & Scene Work (with an enrichment activity like character books or costume design to work on in your "down" time)
- 11:30am - 12noon - Morning Wrap Activity (a game led by staff or student)
- 12:30pm - 1:30pm - Choreography (with our professional Choreographer)
- 1:30pm - 2:30pm - Blocking and Review
- 2:30pm - Final Activity and Closing Circle (something fun, then time to reflect on how we did today, and our progress so far in the program)
- Each week, we'll do a Sneak Peak Friday for parents from 2:30pm-3:00pm to showcase something from the show we've been working hard on. Optional, but highly recommended!
- Each Thursday is a recreational activity.
What kinds of recreational activities do you have planned during Summer Camp?
Every Thursday afternoon is a special activity like a talent show or a trip to the lake, or a sporting activity. And of course, every day is filled with lots and lots of theatre games!
What about lunch and snack breaks?
Students are expected to bring a lunch and something healthy for snack time. Remember, it will be hot and we will be moving around a lot, so lots and lots of water or other hydrating fluids are recommended, too. Occasionally, we will surprise our young actors with a special treat like popsicles or ice cream.
What if my child gets hurt or sick during rehearsal or camp?
This is the reason it is so important to fill out your enrollment form completely and accurately - including two phone numbers and including all allergies and potential medical issues. Although our kids are well-supervised and safety is our top priority, theatre is a physical endeavor, and from time to time accidents do happen - bumps, bruises, cuts. Our staff have access to first aid kit for very minor issues. And if students have anything that requires additional attention, we will immediately contact parents by phone. Our staff is not authorized to give students aspirin or Tylenol or any other medication without written consent from parents.
Why is Summer Camp tuition so costly?
Our tuition is based on the number of instructional hours in the camp. When you break down the tuition cost, it comes to less than $8/hour (less than paying for childcare). We believe the quality of our programs speaks for itself, and that our tuition is competitive with other similar programs. Remember, we also offer financial aid available (20%, 40% and 60% scholarships - on a first-come, first-served basis). For more information on financial aid, send us a quick note: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you offer after-camp care?
Our after-camp enrichment program is offered from 3pm-5pm by reservation, for an additional cost of $10.00 per date. Enrichment teachers will provide activities in the theater arts, games, and snack time. More information and enrollment for after-camp enrichment available on April 1.
One of the cornerstones of our program is a good relationship with the families - open, communicative, proactive, and collaborative. To this end, we have in place several intentional ways to interact with parents:
- A welcome meeting on the first day of the program, where we introduce our staff, discuss the curriculum and go over policies and procedures. At this meeting, we also encourage parents to meet each other in order to begin to develop carpooling, playdates, etc.
- A password-protected website that contains schedules, policies, procedures, forms, and contact information. An "intranet" for our programs.
- Requests for help during Load-In, Tech Week, and Show Weekends - We will ask for help with set-building/painting, costume fittings, supervision during longer rehearsals and performances, and help with box office and backstage during shows. We also ask for parents to coordinate a final cast party for the students - an important highlight of the programs.
- At summer camp, help with supervision of Thursday activities / outings.
- At summer camp, every Friday is Sneak Peak Friday at 2:30pm, where parents and family members are invited to see a song or scene from the show.
YOUTH COMPANY CHICAGO ORGANIZATION
Is Youth Company Chicago insured?
Yes, our organization carries full liability insurance, and all venues we use for performances and rehearsals are listed as additional insured on our policy. We also comply with all city and state requirements for operating a performing arts & education operation.
What if I want to work or volunteer with you?
Great! Send us an email, or visit our JOBS page on the website (where all summer applicants are required to apply).