By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Mermaids, buried treasure, talking parrots and the infamous pirate, Black Beard, took center stage in the fitness center gym here as the Schriever School Age Program partnered with the Missoula Children’s Theatre company to present “Black Beard and the Pirates” July 31.
This was the fourth consecutive year a team from MCT came to Schriever to teach youth about the multiple aspects of stage acting and assist them in putting on a performance. The group had previously helped SAP participants with performances of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “Pinocchio” and “Rapunzel.”
“We currently have 36 teams travelling in all states and 16 countries,” said Taylor Ann Krahn, MCT summer resident. “About one-third of our summer is spent at military bases.”
Youth from the SAP auditioned for parts Monday, and by Friday afternoon were able to put on two performances of the play.
“They learned the entire show in only four days,” Krahn said. “That’s a testament to what they can do. They can do anything.”
Krahn said the MCT summer program isn’t about trying to cultivate young actors; rather the program is designed as an alternative means of challenging creativity, determination and work ethic.
“They were so committed to putting on a wonderful show,” said Caitlin Secrest, MCT summer resident. “They all have such bright spirits. It’s the coolest thing to see young people get into [the program].”
Both Secrest and Krahn said their experience working with military children and youth this summer has increased their appreciation for the service of military members and their families.
“This has been an incredible experience, we’ve loved the base experience,” Secrest said. “Our respect [for the military] has grown exponentially. Our lives have been forever changed.”
The final performance of “Black Beard” marked the conclusion of the final of three Air Force funded theme camps scheduled for the summer. In June, the SAP held a music camp that allowed students to learn about recording and video editing and how to create their own music video or CD. In early July, staff from the Monahan Science Camp helped youth learn about science and build and launch rockets.
Je’Mahl Ray, SAP assistant, said the theme camps have helped the SAP reach more Schriever youth who, in turn, are wanting to attend the SAP on a more regular basis.
“Parents want to bring their kids back [after a camp] and the numbers have grown through the summer,” Ray said. “It’s a testament to the summer program.”
The Schriever SAP is open to children ages 5-12, who have started kindergarten. Children of active duty military, reservists on active duty orders, Department of Defense appropriated and non-appropriated fund employees and contractors working on Schriever are eligible to attend.
The summer program will continue until Aug. 14. Before and after school care and daily school bus transportation is available to children attending Ellicott School District 22. Children residing in other districts are eligible for care on scheduled school closures and snow days.
For more information, or to register your child, contact the SAP at 567-4742.