By Joe Joyer, U of M Senior
This summer I had the opportunity to work with 86 amazing individuals. I worked for Minnesota 4-H at the Great Minnesota Get Together in a summer program called State Arts-In. This program is a 22 day experience where the participants learn about theater arts, leadership, team work and goal setting.
The participants are divided in four different majors and come to the State Fair for two encampments: the four majors are preforming, technical, band and costuming; the two encampments are prep week and state fair. During prep week all of the participants learn, sew, build and prep everything they need to create a 30 minute singing and dancing production. Then, during the fair they perform the show three to four times a day and keep up on all the maintenance with the stage and costumes.
My role within the program was an Assistant Director. If I was to try to explain my position in one sentence it would be, “I helped guide the 86 participants through a 22 day experience where they learned about theater arts, leadership, team work and goal setting.” It is way more in-depth then that, though. The coolest part for me is that I got to live with the participants and form some amazing relationships. Being with the participants 24/7 you become a person that they admire and look to for support. In my life the relationships I have are my biggest value and being able to create lasting relationships with these participants was huge for me.
When I think of the most rewarding thing about my experience, it would have to be seeing the performers perform on stage. When this happens, you can see the hard work that everyone has put into the show come together. The passion and love on the stage is something that will pull at your heart strings. Below is a picture of me and the performers warming up in the stairwell before they head to the stage. I think that this picture really captures the whole mood of the program. Everyone is happy and ready to take ownership of every second they have left of their experience. Spending the summer with them was like spending the summer with family and living in a massive fun home together, the 4-H building.