Our two-week summer camps provide a unique opportunity for students to practice teamwork through artistic collaboration.

Although the U.S. education system continues to place importance on individual performance reflected in standardized testing, research suggests that the ability to work well in groups is increasingly important to employers. For example, a survey by staffing company Adecco discovered that 44% of responding companies consider “soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration” to be the rarest among job applicants, while a study at MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab indicates that in the most successful work groups, participants value team communication more highly than individual talents.

As PAA students develop new concrete skills in the areas of singing, acting, dancing, and music theory, the students at our summer musical theatre camps are also immersed in these increasingly prized “soft skills.” All of the above listed skills – communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration – are actively fostered at PAA.

Communication and collaboration go hand-in-hand as our family groups, which consist of five or six students of various ages, sit together at lunch and eventually work together on a song or other creative effort for our friendly family group contests. Obviously, collaboration is also an essential component of the shows themselves – students must pay attention to and learn from other participants for each scene to be as effective as possible.

Our expert teachers oversee this process from beginning to end, also asking each student – from the lead roles to the chorus members – to think critically about his or her character and make decisions accordingly. Even our youngest participants are asked to make careful, considered choices about who their character is and what they might do in any situation.

Another group of students who are less visible to the audience but every bit as important are our tech students. Our sets, sound, lighting, and overall presentation are all dependent on the immense creative efforts of our tech team. These students learn how to put together the technical elements of a show from start to finish, exercising their creativity as a working unit the whole way.

As wonderful as it is to know that we’re teaching these students lifelong skills, it’s equally rewarding to see the immediate joy in their faces at knowing they’re accomplishing great things as a group.