The Young Americans and The First Lead the Way Conference
I am so lucky to be able to share with you not only a great Michigan education conference today but also a little piece of my life.
My minor in college was speech communications and theatre. I developed a passion for the performing arts starting in eighth grade when I was cast in our school musical, The Wind in the Willows. I was hooked and spent the better part of the next twenty years working on and back stage.
A few months after my first stage experience, my hometown's summer residential dinner theatre company, The Young Americans, brought their National Music Outreach Tour to their summer home. I knew I had to spend those three days learning an entire show choir show.
These high school and college students arrived from California, and I was in awe of them and their talents. I vividly remember burying a high school boy in giant green inner-tubes during the show. It amazes me that I can still remember much of the "My Favorite Son" routine that involved a long row of girls on folding chairs.
I was able to participate in this experience again as a junior in high school. While I am not a singer by any means, I had danced for many years and was selected to do a "Swing Kids" swing dance number with one of the Young Americans. The loop my stomach did when I was flipped over backwards is burned into my memory. It is this performance that introduced me to Sister Act II as we did the final number from that movie as well.
Sadly I have been unable to locate a single photo from either of my experiences, but I do have the lovely VHS tapes of both performances.
For many years I would go back to my high school for the tours they continued to do every few years and missed it like crazy.
However, I was lucky enough to teach along side a former Young America at Onaway Area Schools when they hired a new band director, Lexie Signor. I also worked along side their current Direction of International Outreach Tour, Jordan Mantey, when we were hired to be the directors of Harbor Springs Summer Theater Camp. Though Jordan our young campers were able to meet a small group of The Young Americans and learn a dance routine to "Stand Out" from The Goofy Movie, which my daughter and I can still perform- not that we should.
Almost ten years later we had moved three hours from my hometown and enrolled my daughters in a much smaller school with few arts opportunities. When my mother forwarded me information about The Young Americans' workshop returning, I knew it was an experience I wanted for my girls.
The workshop was coming to my hometown in October, during the week. I knew that this experience was one that was worth missing school for. We applied for a vacation waiver from Potumus school, so she could miss four days of classes.
Not only did she have a blast participating in the workshop, but she also got to see some of the friends she had left behind when we moved because of my job.
Potumus sang and danced right along with The Young Americans and all of the 3rd thru 12th grade participants. She had such a blast. Watching her perform "If We Hold on Together," the same closing number I performed at her age, was heart-warming.
With that we became a two generation family to have participated in The Outreach Tour.
She had so much fun that she participated in their 2013 summer camp as well. Once again she was able to sing and dance her way through three days to learn the second act of a show like none I have ever seen.
This energetic group of young people has changed our family for the last 20 plus years.
The opinions here are 100% mine, and I was not compensated for this post.
Now the Young Americans are offering their first education conference.
Lead the Way: Embrace. Educate. Empower., is a conference for passionate educators who are looking to expand their teaching methods, learn new and innovative ways to build student engagement, collaborate with like-minded educators, and much more.
I thought of you right away when we decided to host an event this summer -- our inaugural educators conference, "Lead the Way" up north in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
We would love to have you join us for this incredible event!
Together, the facilitators and participants will dive into educational topics, tips, and strategies such as:
You can learn more at the website below, or if you have any questions, please let me know.
I really hope to see you there!