Every community has local heroes – people who take the time to go that extra mile, because they know that it will impact another life. They work to make their community a better place, whether they feed the hungry, paint murals, or tutor young children.
Amy Yoder McGloughlin has been the Pastor at Germantown Mennonite Church for the past 2 years. When she heard the description of a local hero she immediately thought of nominating Michael Brix. Brix is the Executive Director at Yes! And… camps. The organization encourages creativity and learning in young people by giving them the opportunity to collaborate with professional artists.
Yes And.. camps are a network of camps that Michael Brix and his fellow students from Eastern University helped form. The camps run throughout the summer in 4 different locations, and cater to kids of all ages. The camp has a set price for every week, but it is on a sliding scale that can be adjusted if need be. 90% of the children there have some sort of aid, with 40% of the families paying around 10 dollars a week. “He takes in every child, no matter what they can pay,” said Pastor McGloughlin.
We went to see Michael Brix at his Elkins Park Theater camp. We were greeted by Brix who showed us into the main room, where campers were reciting A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, almost completely independent of their scripts.
“This week the theme is language, so we have them reciting Shakespeare to get them familiar with language.” explained Brix. The camp has a new theme every week with the campers learning a short script on Monday, and presenting on Friday. “I understand the importance for out of school education.” said Brix. This part of an attempt to make up for the programs the Philadelphia Public School System cut.
Brix himself majored in education at Eastern University, with a minor in theatre. Unlike many acting camps, all the plays preformed are original plays written collectively by the campers. “It empowers the kids, and gives them a voice to shape their experience,” said Brix.
We sat down at lunch with some of campers to ask what they thought of the camp. While smiling mid-chew, the only two words that came to mind for all the campers were “fun,” and “awesome.”