The Young Actor Series (Y.A.S.) is the newest addition to KidSpirit’s exciting summer program line-up. Through Y.A.S., campers will be empowered both on and off the stage as they engage skill-building performance and wellness exercises. In addition to providing campers with a strong theatrical foundation, our program is specially designed to give campers the tools to develop confidence, empathy, and vulnerability. From goal-setting to monologues, musical theatre to emotional expression, our actors leave our program with an increased appreciation for theatre, themselves, and one another.

What Makes Y.A.S. Different?

Unlike traditional theatre camps, our unique program provides campers with the tools to flourish both on and off the stage. Each day our campers engage in a number of performance and wellness-based activities that challenge them to grow as performers and as people. Our specially trained staff designed the Y.A.S. curriculum to integrate both exploration of the arts and exploration of our inner selves. Through Y.A.S., KidSpirit strives to provide all young people with a voice along with the confidence to share it with the world.  

Summer Day Camp 2018 Sessions

Y.A.S. provides its young actors with fun-filled half-day classes for two weeks that run concurrently with KidSpirit Summer Camp.

  • Junior Beavers (Grades K-2) classes run in the afternoons from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM.
  • Dam Builder (Grades 3-5) and Duck Buster (Grades 6-8) take place in the morning from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM. 

Each two week-long Y.A.S. session has a unique focus designed to expose our actors to a variety of different aspects of theatre and personal wellness. Each session ends with an actor showcase in which our young performers are able to share their new skills with family and friends. Our enriching summer line-up includes the following five sessions:

Session 1: Breaking Barriers

June 18- June 29

Focus: Confidence building through basic acting skills and improvisation theatre.

Session 3: Dare to Be You

July 9- July 20 

Focus: Emotional expression through comedic and dramatic acting forms, monologues and story writing.

Session 4: Seize the Day

July 23- August 3

Focus: Goal setting though musical theatre exploration, song and movement.

Session 5: Stand up to Fear

August 6- August 17

Focus: Overcoming fears through pantomime, technical theatre.

Session 6: Curtain Call

August 20- August 31

Focus: Confidence building and teamwork through basic acting skills and elements of show production concluding in a One-Act Festival.


Meet the Y.A.S. Team


Slade “Top Hat” Thackeray, Assistant Director of KidSpirit: Each and every day, Top Hat can be found in the office, at the gym, and in other classrooms ready to help. Top Hat wants to live in a world where sunrises are in slow motion, Tuesdays have plenty of laughing, and lasagna is served at every meal. Top Hat uses his degree in writing and his masters in counseling to provide our actors with curriculum that feeds both their minds and souls. Top Hat brings his compassion and energy to the Y.A.S. program along with KidSpirit programming at large.

Elise “Spelvin” Barberis, Y.A.S. Supervisor: Each and every day, Spelvin can be found happily hanging with her capital campers. This is Spelvin's third year at KidSpirit, which is arguably her favorite place to be in the whole wide world. When Spelvin isn’t busy writing Y.A.S. curriculum or assisting in the classroom, she can most often be found at Western Oregon University where she is completing a BFA in Acting. Three things that fill Spelvin's bucket are trying new things, adventuring, and acting.

Samantha “Tink” Johnson, Y.A.S. Head Instructor: Each and every day, Tink can be found leading our amazing actors in their incredible theatrical endeavors. This is Tink’s first year at KidSpirit, but she has spent many a summer involved in children’s theatre. When not cheering on her fearless actors, Tink can be found studying BioHealth Sciences and Music at OSU or acting as a princess with Dragon Theatre Puppets & Princesses. Three things that fill Tink’s bucket are musical theatre, Disney movies, and dressing-up as a princess to bring smiles to the faces of children in the hospital.

Andria “Daisy” Beck, Y.A.S. Camp Counselor: Each and every day, Daisy is bright and fearless. She wants to live in a world where laughter is plentiful, and iced tea is served at every meal. Still in high school, this is Daisy's first summer at KidSpirit. She is excited for camp because she loves theatre and wants to help kids explore creative expression. Three things that fill Daisy's bucket are playing piano and singing, spending time with friends and family, and playing with dogs. 

Eric “Music Man” Russell, Y.A.S. Camp Counselor: Each and every day, Music Man is engaged, energetic, musical, enthusiastic and safe. This is Music Man's first summer at KidSpirit. He is excited for camp because KidSpirit has a positive atmosphere that provides campers with a safe place to grow. When not supporting our campers as they try new things, Music Man can be found in Benton Hall pursuing a degree in Music Education and Performance. Three things that fill Music Man's bucket are learning new things, making music, and helping kids have fun.