INSIDE...AND BACKSTAGE 
A KIDS Experience Enlightens Possibilities
Executive Director, Ms.Tina Weiss
 talks about Outreach and what it
means to the organization

Developing Relationships and Engaging Communities
The Kids from Wisconsin is now in its 4th year of providing 
"Realize Your Dream" workshops in communities they perform.

 
The reasoning behind the workshops and what has resulted will surprise many.
 
Workshop Fun in De Pere

Q: Ms. Weiss, can you give us a breakdown of why the KFW provides workshops on top of performin g their tremendous show.
A:
I would love to break this down. It came about as a simple, yet complex observation of the KFW organization over it's nearly 50 year history. Outreach impacts the organization three-fold:

1. As we close in on the 50th year of Kids from Wisconsin we are very aware of our audience, troupe member and applicant demographic. The outreach workshops were designed as a tool to help build diversity in all three of these areas.
 
2. Since we are already performing in these communities, the workshops are a good way to reach a younger audience to inspire and create even more interest in the performance. Workshops also help the organizations hosting the show, reach a wider audience, thus increasing ticket sales.

3. With current cuts to music programs in many of the public schools, the KFW find it increasingly difficult to find the accomplished performers needed for the quality performance we are all so used to.  The workshops help introduce the KFW to future performers as a possible opportunity and jumping off point to a performance career. 

Q: Do you feel the workshops have accomplished what the KFW intended?
A: It's still early to make that determination, although we have seen great response to the workshops.  We see the young, workshop participants in the audience and engaging with the performance.  Performances are more broadly marketed in each community when there is a free afternoon workshop. 

This last audition season was the first that we received audition applications from students that were part of  a workshop in previous years. This is easily tracked and an important measurement to keep our eye on.  The more youth we touch, the better they understand what it takes to be performing at the level of the KFW.

The current troupe has one performer this year that participated in
workshops these past couple years. I am unsure if she would have had Kids from Wisconsin on her radar if the workshop hadn't been available.


Q
Meet and Greet
: Tell us about your favorite outreach experience and why.
A: In 2015 we provided workshops and a benefit performance for the Wisconsin Rapids Boys and Girls Club.  The outreach was "controlled chaos" with over 140 students attending!  The energy and excitement these young people had to be up on stage and learning a portion of the show was incredible. 

The community of Wisconsin Rapids really came together.  Many businesses and foundations helped to sponsor the event and even some came forward to make sure the participants of workshop had an opportunity to attend the evening performance. 

An area dance studio, Rapids School of Performing Arts, provided students participating, even more instruction prior to our workshop.  They also took part in an opening act for the evening show. 

The performance earned approximately $6000 for the area Boys and Girls Club through ticket sales and sponsorship as well as created more awareness of the club in their community.
Q: What is new this year when it comes to the "Realize Your Dream" workshops?
A: We re-evaluate our program each year with feedback from the participants, their parents and our hosts. 

With so many participants in the workshops in the last couple years, we felt that an online registration was necessary to control the numbers attending, along with the participants interests and ages.  The workshops are tailored to age and interest. 

In 2017 we added  "Rock 'N the Rhythm".
This workshop will teach about music composition and rhythms. Each student will be taught how to write two bars of very basic music.  Our band will then perform each participants piece and finally combine all the bars into a medley.  The participants will add a title to their composition and take them home. 
Backstage Pass Workshop

"Backstage Pass" will provide the participants an informative session with our sound and lighting crew.  Seeing all the buttons and controls that work different lights, speakers etc. is fascinating for these young people. If the venue allows, we will also provide a glimpse of dressing rooms and explain costume changes and how costumes are a big part of the performance.

 2017  Intern
For the first time, an Outreach Intern will be part of the 2017 season in helping our troupe members understand the workshop process and how best to mentor, control and successfully facilitate the sessions. 

This year's intern is no stranger to the Kids from Wisconsin.  Bridget Cushman is a student at UW-Eau Claire, an alumnus and former student leader with the Kids from Wisconsin.


Q: How do youth and their parents find out about workshops in their hometown and then sign up?

A: Each hosting organization that had interest in providing the free workshop were provided flyers that will be posted within the community.  Workshop locations are also listed on our website under the outreach tab.  Or simply go to the registration page

Q:How does "Realize Your Dream" fit into the mission of Kids from Wisconsin.
A:  The outreach workshops were a guiding force in creating the NEW KFW mission statement.  It helps support our efforts in building even stronger relationships in the communities we perform.  Just like any program that the KFW provides, our hope is that "Realize Your Dream" will help youth understand that what is in your heart is obtainable with hard work and dedication.

The "Realize Your Dream" program continues to empower creative and emotional growth of young people across the state.  Whether the experience was a first introduction or a reinforcement, it played an important role in personal and artistic growth of over 800 young people last summer.

Q: How do
the KIDS troupe members feel about providing the outreach all summer?
A: Our troupe members enjoy taking part in the workshops.  Many of them have their minds set on teaching. This is just one more activity that will help prepare them for their career. Even a successful performer is typically required to give back in the communities they perform.  This is providing real experience for our KIDS.

Mentoring through outreach can also help our members with scholarship applications as well as college credit or even service learning requirements.  Our troupe members will put in over 20 hours of workshops this summer.  This opportunity will help satisfy some of these requirements over their summer with the troupe.

Just last week we had a Boy Scout Leader inquire if the workshop may help to satisfy the performance merit badge.  Wow...the possibilities...


Contact Kids from Wisconsin
414-266-7067
 tina.weiss@kidsfromwisconsin.org
640 S 84th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53214
Contact the KFW Outreach Coordinator - Peggy Strimple
Peggy.Strimple@kidsfromwisconsin.org
2017 Tour