Nicholas W. McClellan
Nicholas W. McClellan

The corn is higher than knee high, school is closed, the air conditioner is blasting before the sun comes up, there are concerts in the park, strawberry shortcake is slated for dessert, and the Van Wert Civic Theatre will be hosting auditions for their second Youth Theatre production. Summer is officially in full-swing.

Van Wert Civic Theatre and Director Amber Evans are excited to announce auditions for Camp Omigosh by Wade Bradford on July 27 and 28 at 7 p.m., 118 S. Race St., Van Wert. These auditions are open to any student, K-12. No preparation is required. This production is not a musical. Students will be reading, not singing, from a script.

Camp Omigosh follows Connor, whose summer is off to a rough start: the camp bus almost crashes, his cabin mates don’t trust him, and the girls on the other side of the camp constantly outsmart him. But when he and his friends Tasha, Parker, and Kimberly investigate the mystery surrounding the “Ghost of Dead Billy,” they begin a hilarious adventure that is worlds away from a typical campfire story. This haunted camp comedy with a sci-fi twist has it all: ghosts, aliens, robots, plant zombies and, of course, dodge ball. Production dates for Camp Omigosh are Aug. 22, 23, and 24.

Encourage the little ones in your life to be comfortable in their own skin by auditioning for this hilarious take on the classic campfire tale, my own story is a lesson in confidence building.

Let it be known, I’m not summers number one, biggest fan. First of all, if you have ever seen me on stage or at the gym (cue laughter), you’ll notice I have an ability to sweat beyond that of normal men. Once the sweat switch is flipped, there’s no turning back (unless I have access to an industrial walk-in freezer).

Secondly, it’s the season of swimming. I am not opposed to a dip in the chlorinated natatorium. In fact, it’s a great way to combat the heat and subsequent sweating I endure all summer long. My only qualm with the act of swimming comes with its clothing options. I do not like to take off my shirt.

While I am more confident now as an adult to bear my flesh from above the waist, as a child, the thought of people looking at my large deposits of cellulite mortified me. I thought my body was disgusting and I assumed everyone else thought the same way.

So, I wore a t-shirt at the pool (in any color but white). It served two purposes, I wasn’t distracting or disgusting and I avoided the harmful effects of the sun. “Why are you wearing a shirt?” other kids would ask.

“Oh, you see,” I would reply, “I’m Irish and I’m like slightly allergic to the sun. Yeah, it’s sad.” I thought I could trick people into not noticing how large I was. Come to find out, it was I who was being tricked. I fooled no one by wearing a t-shirt at the pool. I was still large, regardless of the clothing I wore, and even more noticeable being the only kid with a shirt on.

Today, you will not see me at the pool with my shirt on. You will see a confident young man enjoying time with friends and family. I am comfortable and confident (and the desire to stay cool vastly outweighs my shyness).

Overtime, I became comfortable with who I was and am, whether or not I’m bald or old or fat or poor, successful or struggling. When I don’t feel the need to apologize for anything or to deny anything, I begin to be comfortable in my own skin - and that is the beginning of strength.

One way, as a child, that I was able to boost my self-esteem and confidence was Van Wert Civic Theatre’s Summer Youth Theatre productions. This year, VWCT is offering a second opportunity for area youth to enjoy the art and benefits of live performance. Mark your calendar for July 27 and 28 and give your children the opportunity to participate in a different type of summer camp.

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