Monthly Archives: May 2017

Board Meeting 5/16/17


Present: Meg, Marcella, Deborah, Linda, D’vorah, Pat, Julie, Claudia, Meredith, Robin

Approval of Minutes from March Meeting: Approved
Approval of Agenda: Approved


Executive Director’s Report (Michael):

Keep the staff and all that they are doing in mind- we’re growing and it’s a lot of work!

Mt. Airy day was amazing!  At least 50% of the people who attended came by to say hello and how much they love what I do.  Michael is going to push us into Germantown and surrounding areas.

After school is going really well- they started a garden, working with community

We have two Drexel co-op students, Aijia and Izzy, and they are great!

We would like to have you all join the training sessions which are:

June 1st: 5:30-9:30- New staff, TCL

June 2nd: 5:00-10:00- All staff

June 3rd: 9:00-6:00 – All staff – if you can do only one time, come during lunch on Saturday (12:00 or 12:30), and there will be story and discussion time

June 25th: 5:00-9:00- Site Setup

June 7th- SHADOW will be performing from “The Exonerated” – Philadelphia Youth Theater Festival

Programming Update (Michael):

Looking great!!

We’re using a secondary location for our overflow

Executive Committee Report (Meg/Claudia):

Approval of Summer Sort of Thing – happened at EC meeting, supported by RDC meeting vote

Financial Report (Michael):

Things are looking good right now- because it’s income for summer camp tuition.

Please feel free to ask Michael for bank statements, etc, if you’d like to see them. He’s happy to email them to you.

We got the DOUTY Grant- $4000 – next year will be the year “off”

Still waiting for Lenfest

We have a Drexel Co-Oper who is helping us get our finances in order

St. Clair CPA will be coming out to help us set up for an audit, because this is our 5th summer as a non-profit, so it’s recommended.  It will be an additional cost, which we can put in next year’s budget

For grants we didn’t get, we talked about inviting the representatives to come by and see things with the kids in action, which will keep the relationship open and show there are no hard feelings

Strategic Planning Committee Update (Marcella/Jake) :

There are some gaps that need to be filled in, which will happen at the next meeting – nothing major

Clean up the language, more “strategic” and useful as a document

Most of what we have now is “ongoing” projects – a working plan

Please feel free to look at the document online here:

Discussed the need to come up with a  succession plan

Resource and Development Committee Update (Pat):

Annual “Ask” letter went out the other day:

2 different letters went out- 1 for donors who gave within the last year, and 1 for people who hadn’t given for a couple years.  Will be followed by an email reminder with a link in a week or so

We need to come up with a more cohesive plan, and let people know what that plan is…Deborah is going to help us with that

Auction – reminder:

If we want to do it in November, we should start to talk about it now

We will discuss dates at the next RDC calendar

Nominating Committee (Meredith):

Recruitment of New Members: Over next couple of years we have a lot of people leaving in groups, so we want to be sure we have lots of people who can take their places

Think about people you know in your life who might be a good potential board member and let Meredith know – she will remind us in the next few weeks.

Need more “door openers” and “donors”

Call Summer Hospitality Task Force: D’vorah, Robin, Deborah, Claudia, Julie, Pat

Getting people to Friday events:  7/14, 6:00 PM; 8/4, 6:00 PM, 8/24, 6:00 PM
Managing dinner or cook out during one of the Friday shows: Back to Camp Night??  Maybe this year it’s too soon….
Concessions for SSOT – 8/9, 8/10, 8/11
Scheduling Board Members to attend

Important Dates: July 7th – SHADOW Banquet

Next meeting:  July 18th, 2017, 5:30 Dinner, 6:00 Meeting

Guest post: “Putting Art to Work to Make a Difference” by Belle Alvarez (Artist Teacher)

Editor’s Note: From time to time we will feature guest posts from our Artist Teaching staff. We hope to bring you content that is helpful in understanding who the artists are who work directly with our children and youth. In today’s entry we celebrate with Belle as she shares about an exciting new opportunity with the Painted Bride Art Center. Belle has been an Artist Teacher with us for a few years teaching in Summer Camps and Studio classes. We encourage you to follow along with her during this amazing opportunity on her website or her Facebook page.

Artist teacher Belle Alvarez leading campers in a movement exercise

When I’m not teaching movement at Summer Theatre Camp or Imagination Camp, I love to use dance and movement in projects that bring together art, civic engagement, and activism. This spring, I applied to and was selected for a residency with the Painted Bride Art Center called BrideNext, which is “a citywide collaboration with people in their 20s and 30s who want to put art to work making a difference in Philadelphia.” My project will be looking at the experience of immigration, becoming American, exploring themes around sanctuary and family, and creating space for immigrants from different cultures to share their stories and celebrate what makes each culture unique.

Here are 3 ways that some of Yes! And… Collaborative Arts’ values appear in the process:


For this project, I am supported by an advisory board of individuals who are artists, community organizers, youth workers, city workers, and entrepreneurs. Their insight and connections will play an important role in connecting with the wider Philadelphia community. A gentleman who works for the city’s office of immigration affairs offered to introduce me to organizations who work with immigrants. I will also be seeking collaboration in dramaturgy, sound design, and composition to add texture and depth to my vision for the performance.

Developing a Story

On November 17 and 18, BrideNext will have two evening length performances of the artists’ work. Like a good session at camp, there is a lot to explore in this “story.” I will spend a lot of time looking at the different nuances of the immigrant experience, how it has shaped the history and culture of our city, and what we as a society can do to create a world that welcomes and honors people who come from cultures that are different that ours.


At Yes! And… Summer Theatre Camps, campers get to work alongside professional artists as they develop their collaborative and artistic skills. As an artist with BrideNext, I am being mentored by artist-activists who have a wealth of knowledge for me to learn from. I am learning from my project advisor about a big artistic and civic project she did 20 years ago in New York City, long before I became a professional artist. I am reading articles and chapters on the history and legacy of artist-activists, and reflecting on where my role is in the movement in 2017.

I hope to see you at the Painted Bride this fall after camp! In the meantime, look out for updates on my website and Facebook page.

Thomas and Joseph: Words from our participants

Editor’s note: At times we will feature some stories, testimonies, or words of affirmation about our programs straight from the mouths of the folks who participate: our kids, youth, teens, and parents/caregivers! This first installment is a transcript from our recent Winter Sort of Thing: 10 Year Anniversary Celebration. Joseph and Thomas both shared to the audience what participating in Winter Sort of Thing and Yes! And… Collaborative Arts’ other programs has meant to them. Currently, Thomas is working for us as an After School Group assistant teacher and Joseph is part of our high school Shadow Company in their Core Leadership. We are proud to have them speak on our behalf!

Thomas and Dave

Thomas and Dave in this year’s Winter Sort of Thing: 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

Joseph:  I’m a sports guy.  I like to play.  And when I was 12 (and taking myself pretty seriously) my mom sent me to theatre camp instead of basketball camp… This was not my kind of people.  They made messes.  And imagined.  And danced.  They were silly.  But geez could they wear a man down.  They were relentless, and not just the teachers.  The other kids too.  They forced me to become friends.  To join in, to make my own messes.  I learned to act and dance and sing.  They basically gave me no choice but to join Winter Sort of Thing. And this is where I learned how to work hard.  I thought I already knew what practice was from sports, but I had no idea.  And what I figured out is: I really like to work hard.  I like trying again.  To get back up.  I learned I don’t want to settle.  And how to be myself, and who “myself” really is.  

Thomas:  Good evening.  I hope you have enjoyed the show thus far.  My name is Thomas and I am currently in school to become a video game designer.  When I was a kid my dream was to the first black president.  Someone messed that up for me.  I’m not complaining too much.   Also when I was little, my mom found Yes! And… Collaborative Arts. I started going to camps and in a few years joined Winter Sort of Thing.  I blame them entirely… (I mean I loved epic stories before Yes! And…)  but i didn’t realize that could be me.  That I could author.  That I could shape.  My story,  a story, the story.  And then I could give that to others – I could inspire.  Spark.  I have a long way to go, and bunch challenges I still have to face.  But when I am a millionaire, I’m going to park a truckload of money on these people.  It will be the sweetest revenge.  Until then, I’m counting on you.  

Joseph:  I have to work hard. Harder than others. But most of the time. (Most of it.) I don’t mind, because I’m with my people.  Doing this.