A KIDS Experience Enlightens Possibilities

The KIDS 33 member troupe lives, performs and has a great time together all summer through hard-work and some dedicated, student leadership.
Leaders are typically returning KIDS.  They are chosen through peer and staff review.

Pictured left to right
Top: Jan Hora, Michael Burish
Bottom: Nick Pavelic, Lexie Chiasson, Hope Riesterer, Joe Kelly 
"Before the Kids from Wisconsin tour season begins, a list of troupe members with leadership interest is presented to the staff.  Through evaluations from peer reviews, staff input and previous years, leaders are chosen for the tour season.

Student Leaders set the trajectory of a successful summer, both mentally, physically and of course through the performance itself. 

A "Student Leader" has a challenging and rewarding opportunity to provide knowledge, leadership and advise to members necessary for a successful summer together. Student Leaders act as a helpful resource to troupe members and serve as a liaison between the troupe and KIDS tour staff.

Student Leaders are the epitome of a Kid From Wisconsin both on and off the stage. They lead by example through their conversations and actions with staff, fellow troupe members, patrons and sponsors.  Their job is to unite the troupe in all aspects of a successful summer of KIDS.  

We asked the 2017 Student Leaders what their experience
taught them this year. Here is what each had to say.

Lexie Chiasson just completed her 4th summer with the Kids from Wisconsin. She will be a sophomore at Rider University as a BFA Musical Theater major, and is looking to add a minor in Arts Administration in the fall.
Lexie as Celine
"Being a "Student leader" has taught me what it truly means to put ones needs before your own. I have been a part of the organization for 4 summers and I had gotten used to looking up to someone else. This year, it was my turn to set an example for the younger, newer members. This challenged me to think of what was best for the troupe rather than myself. I value what I have learned this summer and it has helped me grow tremendously as a person and as a leader."
Joe Kelly finish
Joe in the opening number
ed his 2nd and final season with 2017 Kids from Wisconsin. Joe will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as a BFA Acting major. 
"Being a stu dent leader in KIDS was definitely a learning experience for me. I was able collaborate with other leaders and pick up traits that I will continue to work on and improve for many years to come. Having the opportunity to be an older example for the KIDS was and is such a fulfilling feeling.  

Hope's dance feature
Hope Riesterer returned this summer for her third summer with the troup e. Hope will attend UW-Milwaukee this fall where she will be studying dance and performance.
"Just because you are given the title in a leadership role does not mean everyone will instantly listen or follow your ideas. This meant I had to work even harder to do what I knew was right; lead by example and show people how my job was to help them get better and reach their full potential, therefore creating a better show."
Nick in the Nashville set
Nick Pavelic will be a Junior at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where he studies Economics with Mathematical Emphasis. Nick just completed his 3rd and final year with the Kids from Wisconsin.  Nick also interned this summer as the marketing administrator for KIDS.
"Being a student leader has taught me how to earn people's respect by reciprocating respect to m y peers at every given moment. This has proven to be challenging since we spend 24/7 with each other over the summer, but I can honestly say I respect everyone in the troupe and hope they feel that they can respect me as a leader. Leading, performing, and befriending is hard to do all at once, but loving and respecting each other made it possible to bear all hats at once."

 Jan Eric Hora is entering his sophomore year at the
Jan, always with trumpet in hand
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is currently studying business, music, and German. Jan just completed his 2nd and final season with the Kids from Wisconsin.
"Being a student leader with the KIDS from Wisconsin showed me what servant leadership is all about. Being able to work with people that inspire me, made it easy to give back compassion and musical knowledge to the well-rounded troupe members the KIDS have."
Michael as Jake Blues
Michael Burish completed his 4th and final year with the 2017 KIDS from Wisconsin.  Michael will be a sophomore at UW Stevens Point. He is majoring in Jazz Studies and Music Education.

" Something that will stick with me that I have learned is that as a leader you always have to adapt and adopt to certain situations.  One not always the right way."
Q: Lexie, can you tell us about one activity or program that you helped institute with the members this year as a leader, that you are most proud of?
A: Looking back to my first summer with KIDS in 2014, I was coming into an organization where I knew nobody. Walking into a room of 32 strangers who all seemed to know each other already was terrifying, especially as I was only 16. There were many new faces in the incoming 2017 troupe, who I'm sure were experiencing similar fears that I had in 2014. To help with the transition, our leadership team decided to institute a Mentor/Mentee program.

At Rider University where I attend, all incoming freshmen
are paired with an upperclassmen. This program allowed each incoming student to have a connection before the fall semester began. I knew this program would also benefit the Kids from Wisconsin.

The goal was to help every new member feel comfortable coming into the summer.
I felt the Mentor/Mentee program helped the formation of the 2017 KIDS family.
Q : Joe, every leader seems to have a leadership style.  Can you describe what leadership style you brought to the leadership team in 2017?    
A: Going into the role of leadership, my leadership style was to "lead by example". I wanted to give the entire trou
pe the proper idea of how to conduct themselves as a KID, onstage and offstage. My initial goal when asked to join the leadership team, was to really drive home what it means to be a KID, how fortunate we are for this opportunity, and how much of an impact we make on the people of Wisconsin.  

Q: Jan Hora, can you tell us more about "Servant Leadership" and how you used it this summer with the 2017 troupe?
A: Servant leadership is realizing that you are there to serve members of the troupe in the most positive and comforting way. I personally saw my roll no different than any other troupe member besides the need to be welcoming and available to anyone.  
By personally, addressing small inconsistencies in behaviors before they became an issue with the troupe was important. Addressing matters before anyone else would need to get involved helped to build trust and respect.  I worked on staying honest with myself and the people around me by being conscious of what I would say and do to prevent myself from becoming a hypocrite. Being a second-year KID meant that I needed to lead by example. That was my focus.

  Q: Nick, as a Student Leader, Choral Captian and a senior member of the troupe (3 year KID), what advise can you give a potential student leader of our 2018 troupe?
A: If I could give one piece of advice to the student leaders of 2018, I would say to be patient and listen to your peers. You gain so much respect for people, especially your peers, just by having co nversations about anything and giving your full undivided attention even though it may not be of your interest at the time. Using those interpersonal skills to listen and assess where troupe moral is at, will help you use your best judgement as a leader and it will pay off!
Q: Hope, working as the Dance Captain in your leadership role, what was one thing about this experience, that excited you?  
A: The most exciting part about being the dance captain was to be able to see the growth in the entire troupe! Many members came into the summer with no previous dance experience. By the end they fit in and blended with everyone else! It was very cool to witness.  

Contact Kids from Wisconsin
640 S 84th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53214