Camp Story Contest
PAW’s Camp Story Contest
Beloved by PAW families, PAW’s Biannual Camp Story Contest runs two times a year: first, at the end of August to wrap up another exceptional Summer while camp memories are fresh on your mind, and then in February to welcome Spring and eagerly look forward to the new camp season!
Submit your favorite memory, story, or moment from PAW and you could WIN a free session of camp!
Enter during the following dates for a chance to win!
August 15th – September 15
February 1st – March 1st
What do I have to do?
- Just write about your time with PAW! Your story can range from funny and sweet to inspirational and encouraging. You can even talk about your favorite PAW teacher or how your PAW Arts Education has made a difference in your life, school or grades.
Who can write a story?
- Everyone is eligible to write a story! Whether you are a camper, a parent, or even a grandparent, if you are excited about a summer at PAW Camps, we want to hear from YOU!
Do I have to be a past PAW Camper to enter the contest?
- Absolutely not! If you have not been to a PAW Camp before, we would love to hear about why you are excited to attend a PAW Camp this summer!
How long does my story have to be?
- Your story can be a page or just a few simple paragraphs, as long as it helps us imagine just how exciting, memorable, meaningful, and fun-filled your time at PAW has been!
How do I enter?
- To enter, simply fill out the submission form on this page and click on Submit. It’s that easy!
GET INTO THE CAMP STORY CONTEST SPIRIT BY ENJOYING PAW’s PAST ENTRIES AND WINNERS BELOW!
Good luck…we can’t wait to read what you send in!
Entry Authored By: Angelina, Joanna’s Mom, Age 8
Our daughter, Joanna (JoJo), was born a performer. Ever since she could talk and walk, she would sing and dance for our family and friends. When we learned about PAW’s musical theatre camps four years ago, we signed her up right away. Ever since then, we have been fans and participants of the amazing camps each summer. She truly enjoys the wonderful teachers, excellent instruction in singing, dance, acting, as well as the friendships she’s made by meeting other kids. JoJo has learned important life skills such as teamwork, cooperation with various people (teachers, camp counselors, other campers), listening, self confidence, and the joy of musical theatre. She has cherished opportunities as Sally in “Charlie Brown and Friends,” Young Prince Philip in “Sleeping Beauty,” Rafiki in “The Lion King,” and her favorite role as Mary Poppins last summer. Our family has shared the great news of PAW with many family and friends, who have subsequently joined in the fun. We will continue to cherish each summer experience, and keep singing the praises of PAW in the years to come. We have participated in many different summer camps, and PAW is definitely our favorite. Hopefully JoJo can participate in the junior camp counselor program when she gets older, and empower younger kids to have confidence and joy in performing and being who they are on and off stage.
Entry Authored By: Allegra, Camper, Age 10
It’s the day of the performance. I wake up extra early so my mom can do my hair. I had laid out my costume 5 nights before and this was the day I could actually wear it. I was going to be Le Fou today, Gaston’s side-kick in The Beauty and the Beast. I gobble down my oatmeal and we walk out the door. On our way to camp my mind is going over all the things that could go terribly wrong. I calm down by reminding myself that I have friends and teachers who are there for me, and that I know my lines inside and out. I take five deep breaths and realize that I am looking forward to it.
I walk into the building and I am greeted with smiling faces. My friends comment on my Le Fou hair-do. I am getting more excited by the minute. We go through the play and Gaston and I keep forgetting to arm-wrestle at a certain point during our song, which throws everyone off. It’s getting stressful. After going over it five or six times we finally get it down.
Before I know it we are back-stage hearing the parents file into their seats. We are silently going over our lines. Just before going on-stage we all gather in a circle and stomp at the same time without counting. We are in synch. It is time to start the play and I can feel the butterflies in my stomach.
Once on stage I am immediately comfortable and it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
PAW camp is amazing. In the 3 plays I did at PAW, the teachers were different but they were all fun and kind, encouraging us to do our best and helped us develop our characters. The teachers mix games, singing, dancing and acting to create a perfect day. I love this camp and am so excited to come again next summer!
Entry Authored By: Shinjini, Camper, Age 9
I have a lot of favorite memories at PAW. All my sessions were amazing from the first to the last. My recent years have all been so fun and I can’t wait to go again! However, I will share my top 3 favorite moments.
My first favorite moment was having a challenge with friends. To clarify, we held a competition against each other. Me and my friends would see if we could go for a whole day without saying He Who Must be Named name or The Dark Lord. Whoever said one of those would play Slytherin (green) in Trouble or Sorry (the pieces served as Harry Potter characters.) Once, Sofia said his name, but unfortunately she went home early. I wanted to know what it’s like playing against Slytherin.
My second favorite moment was playing Levon in Wicked. One of the reasons is it was my 5th time being a different person/animal. It also gives me a weird, yet magical feeling to be as though transported into a different world. But the best part of it is that I improved my performance as another character from the last performance, Hogwarts: the Musical. I can now act as my character through the whole play/performance
My third favorite moment was being there for the first time. I’ll never forget how nervous I was. Meeting everyone gave me an idea of how many people loved this camp or how many people could be new. Forever Annie was me being a seedling in the art of performing. However, it gave me many lessons, and I evolved from being a seedling to a stem and then a stem with leaves. However, I’m not a flower. I will probably be one this year.
Being at P.A.W. gave me so many things to think about. I know that I’m good at the art of performing. But I know there is always room for improvement. I can’t wait to make more good memories this year.
Entry Authored By: Kristy, Caden and Kallie’s Mom, Ages 10 and 7
Voldemort? by Kristy
“Wait, you want to be Voldemort?” I said when Caden, my nine-year old got home from camp. “Yup, that’s what I want,” Caden said. “Isn’t there any other part you are interested in? How about Harry or Ron?” I said. “No mom. Voldemort is cool.”
In June, my kids attended “Hogwarts Musical” which was a story about Harry Potter and friends. The best part was that the music was rewritten lyrics to Beatles classic songs. Both Caden and Kallie were singing “Come Together” in my car one morning on the way to camp. “How do you know that song?” I asked. “Camp,” was their answer. “Do you know that song is famous? I mean super famous. Grandma and Grandpa will be so excited when you sing that song to them! “ I said.
The next day Caden came home beaming from ear to ear. “I got it! I’m Voldemort!!!” he shouted. “Hmmmm….that’s great,” I said imagining my baby as a horrible snake-like pale faced creature. “I’m Dobby’s friend,” Kallie, my seven-year-old said. “Sweet!” I said, again trying to imagine my baby girl with giant elf- ears.
Two weeks of practice and lots of Beatles music went by. We invited my parents to come watch, as they were super excited to see the show. They had already given the kids a synopsis of Beatles history.
Soon Caden took the stage in his cape and white makeup. When he spoke I had no idea where this evil villian came from! He was commanding. You could hear a pin drop in the audience. Kallie was cute as can be singing as Dobby’s friend in the chorus.
We captured many moments as a family that day. We discovered an acting ability in my son and daughter that we had never seen before. It was our third year at PAW and one we will never forget.
Entry Authored By: Luiza, Camper, Age 10
We Have Each Others’ Backs
I’m outside. Everyone is talking fast to their neighbors, waiting. Waiting for the counselors to tell us to line up. It’s time to go back stage. Now I’m back stage. I see a couple of kids move forward. They’re walking onto the stage. I sit still and listen carefully for my cue. And there it is. I stop, take a deep breath and walk out on to the stage. I say a few lines then look on to the audience. I locate my parents and sister waiting, watching and cheering me on. I look at everyone’s eyes. Everyone’s cheering me on. At the back of the room, I find a few of the counselors that I know and love. I can feel their eyes on me, supporting me. I know how hard they’ve worked to get me here.
I take a few more deep breaths as I hear my song coming on. This is the moment my dance partner and I have been practicing for. We do our part of the dance and then the whole cast comes on – singing and dancing along with us.
I take the final pose as the song slowly drifts off. And then, so do I, off the stage. Once safely hidden by the back stage door, my dance partner and I high five as the final scene ends. We run back on to the stage.
We did it! I did it! I take a bow and the crowd cheers louder. Everything that happens next is a blur. Everyone takes their bows as the final song comes on and we all dance down the stairs into the audience. The audience greets and cheers for us with flowers and other little gifts – showing their support. And that’s how PAW is, I support you. You support me. We have each other’s backs. And even from the smallest role to the biggest, everyone does the best they can and puts everything in to help one another.
I’ll never forget when I was Zazu in the Lion King, last summer, dancing down the stairs into the audience with all of the kids in the camp, my friends, right beside me.
Entry Authored By: Rio, Camper, Age 10
PAW is one of the most fun camps in the world. I have many great memories at PAW, and I can’t wait to go every summer. Every December we count down for the list of plays, and my mom yells “the email is here!” It’s hard to pick a play and wait until the summer! One of the best memories that I have from PAW is my first play. When I first started doing PAW I was six years old, and I was super nervous, and pretty shy. On the first day I was standing in the corner with a hula hoop. When we got our parts in the play, I was a firefly. I thought the firefly was the best character ever in the Princess and the Frog. Steve, Ms. Natasha and everyone taught us that every part counts. When I was first learning to dance in the Princess and the Frog I was barely moving at all. During the actual play I started to dance more. One special thing that stood out was that all the staff and the kids were super nice and really happy. We used to play Stage Dodgeball. One thing that was funny during Stage Dodgeball is when I won the whole game kinda standing in the corner. Standing in the corner is supposed to be cheating but everyone does it once in awhile. I always was excited to play Stage Dodgeball. In the play there’s a scene called Down the Bayou and during the scene we were supposed do a conga line and we all got out of order and split up. I was confused thinking “why are we doing this weirdly?” It got fixed finally on the day of the play. We all sang loud and had a great time during that scene of the play. That was a great memory at PAW. 2 more months until summer and I can’t wait to see my friends and staff at PAW!
Entry Authored By: Camela, Maddie’s Mom, Age 5
Maddie started at the ripe age of 5, in Cinderella, where she played the Aristocrat. She was timid and shy in the beginning but as time progressed with the help of the staff and camp friends, she started to enjoy the activities throughout the day. She enjoyed PJ day and morning warm ups. She especially loved learning the ABBA songs. Although she was not picked for the role she had her heart on, she understood her importance in the show. I can still remember her asking for help with her lines because she couldn’t read yet. The instructors were amazingly awesome! They have brought her self-confidence to light. PAWs has been a positive impact on her. We can’t wait for Summer 2017, her 3rd year with PAW!
Entry Authored By: Max, Camper, Age 11
My experiences at camps have been good, but not as good as Paw. The teachers there are so nice and welcoming…When I do plays at Paw it makes me feel like I belong. I hope I get to be there again. See you on the stage!
Entry Authored By: Shana, Ally’s Mom, Age 6
PAW came at the perfect time for our family last summer. My daughter Ally thrived during her 2 week session of Wicked last summer. A couple of days prior to starting camp, she was unfortunately bitten by a dog on her face. It was a very emotional and scary time for our family. She went to camp the first day with a big bandage on her face, with lots of scary emotions running through her. The staff was extremely welcoming and supportive to her, which comforted me to leave her after a few days from this incident. The camp brought her spirit to life! She didn’t dwell on the fact that she had many doctors appointments in those 2 weeks. or the fact that she couldn’t run around or be exposed to the sun. She focused her energy to learning songs and dance moves and could not wait for her performance. The day before the show, her bandage was removed. She was so eager to perform with small pieces of skin colored tape and to look more like herself. We were surprised when she opened the show and saw her huge smile come through. During the entire performance she beamed! She is looking forward to another musical this summer. I am grateful she had the opportunity last summer to find a passion and ease her pain.
Entry Authored By: Glenna, Alahna’s Grandma, Age 11
For the past seven years, one of the big highlights of my summer has been attending my Granddaughter’s performance at Performing Arts Workshops. From the time she was a little peanut member of the chorus to becoming one of the stars of the show, she has clearly enjoyed the program. Her skills at singing, dancing, speaking on stage, and making friends have blossomed. Even more important, the program has helped her gain self-esteem, poise, and confidence which benefits her in her life. All the productions are skillfully staged, choreographed, and directed. The staff finds ways to provide all the children, no matter their role, with ample stage time and experience. The children have such a fun and happy time. My granddaughter is a model of the program’s success in my eyes.
Entry Authored By: Abigail, Camper, Age 14
The sun was just barely greeting the cool sky on a crisp, early morning in late summer when I first walked into camp. When I walked through the huge doors, a lady in a black and white camp shirt walked up to me and greeted me with a smile. I quickly learned that her name was Miss Jessica. However, little did I know that I would never, ever forget her in all of my years to come! I looked around and took in the room in one deep breath. I knew I was bracing myself for the hardest part of the day… saying goodbye to my mom. I gave her one last hug, knowing I wouldn’t be able to do that again for another 8 hours (so long!) It was camp time! We sang, danced, acted, played, and I learned the names of about 30 other kids that day. I went home that night and my parents asked me how camp was. I looked at them with a pout on my face and arms folded and said in the sassiest voice I could muster, “I give it a TWO out of five stars!!” My parents exchanged concerned looks and they told me to give it another chance. I slept, thinking of their words. Within my next days at camp, I received my role, the first one I had ever received, Green Lantern. As we got further into the play, Westside Super Story, my smile grew wider and wider. By the end of the two, short weeks of camp, I came home singing all of the new songs I learned and practicing the choreography I learned. Finally, after I took my final bow at the close of the show, I rushed up to my parents and gave them a broad smile with pleading eyes and exclaimed, “I want to go back!” Six years, several sessions of PAW, and a countless number of PAW performances later, I am here, writing this story. I’ve played the parts of villains, princesses, heroes, and even animals, and I have enjoyed every one of those parts. Though I love and cherish every performance at PAW which I participate in, that first session never escapes my mind. Whenever I think about that experience, I smile and even say some of my lines out loud that I remember. I can remember some of my lines from 6 years ago, but one thing I will never forget are the songs and all of the lyrics. Along with the songs, I can remember the wonderful choreography put in by the amazing, Miss Jessica, who I love and am always looking forward to seeing at camp every year!! PAW has left me with many great memories I will hold in my heart forever!
Entry Authored By: Anna, Agassi’s Mom, Age 9
I have to say ‘Thank you’ to a wonderful team at Performing Arts Workshops!
My name is Anna and my son Agassi was at PAW during the summer session last year. It was a blessing to see him so happy and excited every day he went to the camp. The music theater was absolutely amazing. You guys made a wonderful job putting all this together! Agassi was a Aqua-man in ‘The West-side Super-story’. It was so much fun for him to be part of a real performing team. We were really surprised to see that you guys managed to organize all of this in just a couple of weeks. Kids were playing like pros! Music, decorations and the directing were absolutely amazing! And the best part of it was that Agassi made new friends. The atmosphere that you create at the PAW makes kids open up and express their creativity on so many levels. He still remembers fun he had at the PAW and hopes to be part of another session soon. As for me, signing him up for it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. What can be more rewarding than seeing you kid happy? Thank you again for your wonderful work!
Entry Authored By: Eliza, Camper, Age 11
My name is Eliza and here is my favorite Performing Arts Workshop memory. My first summer camp was Sleeping Beauty when I was five years old. Little did I know that I would be doing the same show with some of the same people six years later. I had a rough start in camp that first year, as far as making friends. After the first day I did not want to go back. My mom encouraged me to go and give it another chance. I went back and ended up having such a great session that I returned at least once each summer to the same camp. I even did the after school sessions at my elementary school, and have been in a total of 18 PAWS shows. I have been in shows with many of the same people and kept the same friends year after year. One of the friends I have made is Vanessa. She is three years older than me and we have been in four summer camps together, including Sleeping Beauty, my first camp. Last summer Vanessa and I ended up at another camp together, Sleeping Beauty! The sad part was that Vanessa turned fourteen and this was her last year at PAWS summer camp. We ended up going full circle together: my first show to her last. The first time we were in Sleeping Beauty I was an elf and she was a lady in waiting. This time I was Prince Phillip and she was Sleeping Beauty number one. It was great to be costarring the show with her. We even got the big duet together for the song, I’m With You. She was and is one of the closest friends I have made at summer camp. We still stay in touch even though I know she won’t be at camp next year. Our final show together is my favorite PAWS summer camp memory.
Entry Authored By: Lindsay, Camper, Age 9
My PAW Song
(Sing to the tune of Candy man from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory)
Who can take a Summer (who can take a Summer)
Sprinkle it with cheer (sprinkle it with cheer)
Add singing, dancing, and acting
Then it will appear
PAW Summer Camp
PAW Summer Camp
Who can take tomorrow
Dip in a dream
Add in new and old friends
And then we can scream
Go PAW Summer Camp
Go PAW Summer Camp
PAW Summer Camp can cause it makes each day loads of fun
Choose this Summer
To go to PAW
At the end of 2 weeks
You’ll perform a play for all
Go PAW Summer Camp
Go PAW Summer Camp!!!
Entry Authored By: Denna, Sienna’s Mom, Age 7
My daughter Sienna enjoyed the performing arts workshops summer camp so much that every morning on the way to camp, all she wanted to do was sing and practice! I was happy to see my usually reserved and quiet child so excited about her performance. After the camp ended she told me that she couldn’t wait to go back next summer. A big thanks to the staff for making her summer memorable and fun! She played one of the village girls in beauty and the beast and in my opinion she had perfected the Gaston faint scene 😉
Entry Authored By: Sasha, Camper, Age 11
My favorite memory from my Performing Arts Workshop experience was when I got to perform in front of my friends and family. At first, I didn’t even want to go because I thought I would be really bad at acting and I would be judged for how good or bad I am. However, my friend persuaded me to go, as she had done the workshop for 5-6 years. I don’t regret any decision I made of joining the camp. Acting is a place where everyone can express themselves in their unique way and bring something personal to any character. No matter if you are a beginner or if you are talented, there is always room for improvement. I was casted the role of Flora, (the red fairy). I really loved my character, and the costume that my mom made for me. When it was the day of the show and I went on stage for the first time, I felt very nervous but so proud to act and dance after working for so many hours to make our show perfect. Seeing everyone, especially my friends sitting in the audience smiling and clapping for us was so rewarding. The audience cheered for us, and every butterfly in my stomach seemed to fly away. This camp has encouraged me to audition for my school’s drama class this year! I really want to continue going to the Performing Arts Workshop and put more smiles on people’s faces!
Entry Authored By: Kristy, Caden and Kallie’s Mom, Ages 7 and 5
This summer, my kids, Caden and Kallie participated in the PAW production of, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. The morning of the first day, my daughter Kallie began in tears, telling me that she would not like it and she would not ever want to go on stage. The day that Kallie and Caden came home with their script they wanted to see the movie. We watched the old and new versions. The kids were hooked. Soon the kids were coming home singing the songs. They played make believe as if they were characters from the play. My daughter fell asleep with her face on the script. Even though they didn’t have the main parts, they didn’t seem to mind. When it came time to perform, both kids were a bit nervous, but they were great.
To this day, they still love to sing the songs in the car and talk about camp. It was their first theater experience and it changed their lives forever.
Entry Authored By: Lila, Camper, Age 10
My favorite memory from camp was performing. Before I came to the PAW camp I wanted to be a singer, well actually I wanted to be a popstar. I thought that singing was what I wanted to do. I used to watch youtube and watch the latest popstars music videos. Then, one day my mom came to me while I was watching a Taylor Swift music video and told me about this camp. She said we were going to perform the Jungle Book. I said I would do it even though I thought it was going to be really cliche. But, once I got there I saw the stage and it looked amazing. I originally wanted to be Baloo the bear. I got the part Toscia, Baloo’s friend. I had never perfomed before. I was scared. Before the performance we did a song from Tarzan because our show was jungle themed. I had a solo, two lines that I still remember to this day. I sang those solo lines and I realized I didn’t want to be a popstar, I want to be a Broadway star. I want to be like Barbra Streisand, Natalie Wood, and Rita Moreno. This camp helped me realize that I want to perform.
My favorite memory from my second year of camp was learning the choreography. The choreography teacher used to live in the same apartment complex as me. I remember being in a different age group than my friends, so we would always have dance class at different times. But, when I came to dance class I remember being so happy. I loved the way she taught the class and the dance moves we were doing. I love dancing and singing, it brings me so much joy! I think I’m gonna go to this camp forever because it’s just amazing.
Submit Your Story 💖
Congratulations on choosing to enter PAW’s Camp Story Contest!
To celebrate our campers’ and families’ special stories, we will be publishing many of them here for your enjoyment.
1st Place Winner
1 Full Free Session of Camp
2nd Place Runner Up
1 Session of Camp Half Off
3rd Place Runner Up
1 Session of Camp Half Off
As our special thank you just for submitting your story we are gifting all of our contest entrants with the Red Ribbon Award of $100 PAW Camp Dollars.
Your Red Ribbon $100 Award can be applied when registering for a session of camp or, if you are already registered, to add an additional session of camp.
Fall Contest winners will be announced on PAW’s Official Facebook page on October 15th
Spring Contest winners will be announced on PAW’s Official Facebook page on April 5th