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French Woods is excited to announce that we will be a Maker Education Initiative Maker Corps Host Site for 2015

aerial photo of French Woods Festival

French Woods Festival

French Woods is one of the largest training centers for the performing and visual arts for children and teenagers in the world. Our fifteen hundred campers and five hundred staff come from across the country and around the world. During our thirteen-week season both campers and staff experience a program that is totally unique in the world of camping. Each person attending French Woods has a personalized schedule of activities tailored to their interests and abilities affording each individual the opportunity to receive the most from the camp’s programs. We’ve partnered with the gclub24hr online casino to ensure we have everything we need to take advantage of this opportunity. They will be providing input and helpful perspective as well. With all this mind we have full confidence this project will be highly successful.

Maker Education Initiative

The Maker Education Initiative ( was established to create more opportunities for all youth to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making. We want young people to join—and eventually lead—the growing Maker Movement. Our Maker Corps program brings together a great diversity of people and organizations into a cohesive community of learners and makers, while allowing for and ensuring that all programming is relevant to its audiences.

This will extend our existing offerings at French Woods Festival in game design, trains, model cars, and rocketry, jewelry, programming, electronics, laser cutting C-n-C milling and more and interface with our existing woodworking, leather crafting with the providers from the top 10 best leather work gloves, ceramics, tech theater, magic, and performing arts programs. In addition, our Maker Corps members will work with teens at our new program at the French Woods Enrichment Center as we start up our programs in robotics and 3-d printing and more technology and maker activities.

French Woods is deeply committed to the idea that children and teens grow and learn from the summer camp experience. We believe that making things with their hands teaches life-long skills that cannot be gained any other way. The Maker Corps program also values the physical and mental challenges of building things. We look forward to working with them.

French Woods is hiring maker types who want to share what they do with children, we offer a salary, room and board, and a chance to work with some of the most gifted and creative individuals you will ever meet. Families may also be accomodated. to find out more, call us or fill out our online application at

As a summer camp, we offer a wildly diverse and artistically rich environment where prospective makers will be surrounded by magicians and artists, musicians and aerialists, jugglers and craftspeople, performers of every sort, dancers, singers, actors and athletes. In addition to living and working with kids, you will watch them perform in the literally hundreds of shows we do every summer: theater, rock, magic, dance, classical and jazz music, waterski shows, film festivals, the list goes on. Every summer we look at each other and say, “this could not happen anywhere else”. If you need more info, call or email us, we look forward to talking with you.



Casting Call

My name is Richard Hicks.  I’m the Casting Director of the movies ‘Gravity’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and others.  We are currently casting an independent feature film called WEIGHTLESS, starring Nick Nolte (’48 Hours’) and Jason Clarke (‘Zero Dark Thirty’), and we’re searching for a young boy to play the leading role of ‘Will’, age 8-12, who weighs approximately 150 lbs. or more.

This search is quite special, because we have the opportunity to find a “diamond in the rough” to play the leading role. He doesn’t need to be a professional actor at all. And because of his size he’s the kind of kid you don’t see a lot of in movies, and we want to change that. Our lead, ‘Will’, is just a sweet, quiet, shy kid. But, he’s also coping with childhood obesity, bullying and divorce — issues that affect so many kids today.

Attached is a flyer with some more information on the movie and link to our website,  On the website is a link where they can audition.  They can also ‘like’ our Facebook page and get updates there (

We would so appreciate it if you could share the flyer with anyone you think might be right or might possibly know someone who would be right. Kids, adults, teachers, counselors, etc., etc.

Any kid who might be in the ballpark, you can certainly encourage them to ‘audition’ by filming a short interview (doing it on a smartphone is fine – it doesn’t need to be fancy) and uploading it to our audition site. There are helpful instructions and tech support available through the website.


French woods mentioned in a story on


Raising a theater-loving kid can mean raising a kid who dreams of one day being a star on the stage. If that describes a child you know and love, a performing arts summer camp might be just the way to stoke that fire.

For Nora Brown, a natural tendency to be a “drama queen” and a love for the theater and being on stage made it easy for her mom, Judy Antell, a writer for, to choose the right summer camp for her. She went to Camp Broadway, where she got an inside look at theater.
Now a mature teen of 16, Nora no longer wants to be a performer. Instead, she wants to be a playwright. And, Antell says, the skills and confidence she got from attending theater camps from ages 4 through 9 led her to the student leadership team at her school, which gives presentations to incoming freshmen and their parents.

“That’s probably a direct result of her years going to theater camp,” Antell says.

Traveling for the Right Camp Experience

Since Nora lives in New York City, she did not have to travel to get the theater experience she coveted. But many kids do. Look at the website of any theater camp with a national reputation and it is as likely to include travel information as it is to include details on the camp offering itself.

At French Woods Performing Arts Summer Camp, located on the border between New York and Pennsylvania, getting kids to camp is a part of the service. So many campers travel from destinations such as Florida, Chicago, and Los Angeles that the camp sends a staffer to those cities to escort groups of kids to French Woods, says director Ron Schaefer.

But travel isn’t always a prerequisite for attending a high-quality theater camp, equiped with the latest in audio and stage lights. With television reality shows turning people into overnight superstars and webcams and smartphones giving everyone access to a public stage, interest in and demand for performing arts summer camps is burgeoning.

Find the Right Camp

Google “theater camps for kids” and it will return more than 9 million hits. That includes everything from camps with national reputations like Camp Broadway, the first kids’ theater camp in New York to connect kids directly with Broadway, to local programs in just about any city with a performing arts center or park district.

How do you know that the camp your children want to attend is one that will help them reach the lofty heights to which they aspire? TravelingMom asked Camp Broadway (which operates camps in New York City; Atlanta; Buffalo, New York; Gainesville, Florida; Greenville; Jacksonville, Florida; Las Vegas; Pittsburgh; Providence, Rhode Island; San Antonio; and Tempe, Arizona) to share some tips for finding the best camp for your kids.

Do Your Homework

The first step to winnow down those 9 million choices is to focus on the needs of your child. Is he a serious performer who only wants to be in the spotlight? Or is she someone who needs downtime in nature and wants to mix rehearsal time with horseback riding and swimming?

Once you have narrowed the camp choices to a few options, read the biographies of the teachers to ensure they are experienced professionals. Read reviews and stories about the camp in the general press. Ask other parents for their reviews, either by inquiring around the community or via social media if you want to cast a wider net.

Contact the Camp

Before you commit, pick up the phone and call the camp operator, who should be willing to answer all of your questions about:

Class size. Will your child be in an intimate setting that will ensure plenty of individual attention for your budding star? Or are the classes chorus-line–sized, offering little time for one-on-one coaching? Camp Broadway’s managing director, Melissa Caolo, says that to provide an optimal learning environment, look for programs that promise one teacher and one assistant to no more than 25 students. If the children are younger, look for even smaller class sizes to ensure plenty of control and learning.

Performing opportunities. At French Woods, every child is guaranteed a part in a stage performance. And those who are in the chorus of a musical can have a second opportunity with a part in a one-act play.

The mission of the camp. Is this a program aimed at using the performing arts to develop a child’s self-confidence in every area of his or her life? Is it a program aimed at honing skills and launching careers? Or is it some combination of the two? All approaches are valid. The key is to know what the mission is so you can be sure it matches your child’s wishes and needs.

Safety. Are the instructors vetted and are their backgrounds checked? Is the teaching space clean and well-organized? Is there a plan for handling emergencies? How are the meals prepared? Is there adequate adult supervision at all times?

Cost vs. Value

Once you are satisfied that the camp you chose is the right one for your child, it’s time to think about money and value. This is where the reputation of the camp comes in. If your child is serious about a future as a performer, is this an investment in that future? If it’s a camp with a national reputation, is it worth the cost of flying your child across the country to attend?

Make sure to read the fine print. Are all meals included? What about theater tickets to professional performances?

If that all adds up to more than your family budget can handle, don’t despair. Many camps offer financial aid and scholarships to make camp more affordable.

And finally, Camp Broadway’s Caolo says, encourage your child to go with an open mind and a positive attitude. After all, summer camp is supposed to be fun.

International Staff Hiring starts soon!

French Woods will be hiring at staff camp fairs in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico the dates and fairs we’ll be attending are listed below:

CCUSA Leeds Camp Fair
Ron Schaefer will attend
Saturday 18th January
The Queen’s Hotel
Address: City Square, Leeds, LS1 1PJ

Camp Leaders London Fair  – NEW LOCATION!
Beth Schaefer will attend
Saturday 18th January
10AM to 4PM

The Grand Connaught Rooms, 
61-65 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5DA

CCUSA London Fair
Ron Schaefer will attend
Sunday 19th January
Hotel: NH Harrington Hall
Address: 5-25 Harrington Gardens, South Kensington
London, SW7 4JW

Camp Leaders Manchester Fair
Beth Schaefer will attend
Sunday 19th January
10AM to 4PM
Manchester Central Conference Center
Windmill Street
Manchester M2 3GX

Camp America Edinburgh Fair
Beth Schaefer will attend
Tuesday 21st January
12PM to 4PM
Our Dynamic Earth
Holyrood Rd
Edinburgh Eh8 8AS

Camp America Manchester Fair
Beth Schaefer will attend
Thursday 23rd January
12PM to 5PM
Manchester Town Hall
Albert Square
Manchester M60 2LA

CCUSA Mexico Fair
Darryn Lawson will attend
Friday 24th January
12PM to 6PM
Centro De Convenciones Puebla
Boulevard Heroes Del 5 de Mayo No 402
Paseo de San Francisco, Colonia Centro Historico
CP 72000 Puebla

CCUSA Mexico Fair
Darryn Lawson will attend
Saturday 25th January
1PM to 5PM
Centro De Convenciones Puebla
Boulevard Heroes Del 5 de Mayo No 402
Paseo de San Francisco, Colonia Centro Historico
CP 72000 Puebla

Camp America London Fair
Beth Schaefer will attend
Saturday 25th January
12PM to 5PM
The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center
Broad Sanctuary, Westminster
London SWIP 3EE

CCUSA Brisbane Fair
Larry Seigal will attend
Wednesday 29th January
5PM to 8PM
190 Elizabeth Street,
Brisbane, QLD, 4000

CCUSA Melbourne Fair
Larry Seigal will attend
Saturday 1st February
11AM to 3PM
The Grand Hyatt on Collins
123 Collins Street,
Melbourne, VIC, 3000

CCUSA Sydney Fair
Larry Seigal will attend
Sunday 2nd February
1PM to 5pm
The Hilton Hotel
488 George Street,
Sydney, NSW, 2000

CCUSA Auckland Fair
Larry Seigal will attend
Tuesday 4th Feb
5PM to 8PM
Heritage Hotel Auckland
35 Hobson Street, Auckland

Camper News that missed our last Newsletter

Julia Braverman is a finalist in music for a better America talent competition to be held on may 14 at the usta tennis center in flushing. Julia will be singing and playing piano.

James Jackson is playing Horton in the Rippowam Cisqua School production of Seussical. He was recently in Rent and is now playing Sonny and Danny in two different casts of Xanadu at Main Street ACT. He is the stage manager there for the junior cast of Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty.

Ben Jackson recently was able to help us by looking for the best mattress in a box and ordering several for the camp. Now we will have awesome beds to sleep in! A great and much needed upgrade, as our current mattresses are basically falling apart at this point. I’m looking forward to breaking mine in for sure!

Hope Jackson recently played Dana in Camp Rock and is now playing Calliope in Xanadu at Main Street ACT.

Ellie Sondock auditioned with over 500 kids for the highly selective Musical Theater program at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston. Twelve students were chosen for this department, which offers highly specialized and rigorous training in all aspects of Musical Theater, along with a rigorous academic program. She will start school in the fall as an incoming 9th grader.

Addie Meny has been cast as JoJo in Suessical the Musical at The Playhouse on the Green in downtown Bridgeport, CT.

First-time camper Jordan Bialik will be playing the role of Horton the Elephant in his school’s production of Seussical.

Matthew Wechsler put up his first Music Video

Morgan Luc Seftel and Scott Feiner performed in The Roslyn Theater Company’s A Chorus Line. Morgan was inducted into the Jr. Thespian Society at Weber Middle School after his performance as Bundles in Annie Jr. with Juliet Walzer. Morgan also danced in the Hannah Kroner School of Dance’s Cancer Benefit In Living Color with Lindsey and Chelsea Wolgel and 150 other girls!

Juliet Walzer sang Tiempo de Vals by Chayanne in front of 10,000 people at Mexico City’s National Auditorium as part of the Quincenera 2011 events (sort of a giant annual Sweet 16 spectacle for hundreds of 15 year olds.) Juliet appeared in several Mexican newspapers, including a profile in the largest one, El Universal