PERFORMING ARTIST HANDBOOK
Welcome to Summerstock VTC
A Performing Arts Intensive: Vanguard Summerstock Sleepaway
July 30 – August 20, 2023
Dear Performing Artists, Parents and Guardians,
Welcome to Summerstock Sleepaway Intensive!!
Summer is my favorite time of year because, among my other favorite activities, I LOVE Summerstock VTC!
Musical theater in the woods with teenagers is truly one of my favorite parts of summer - and I really mean that! Beyond rigorous training and amazing performances, it’s a time for them to step away from their school-year personas and re-discover or re-invent themselves. Most importantly, it's a time when they have the opportunity to meet, work, and live with people from outside their bubbles. This experience helps prepare them to step into the Fall and enter a new school year having grown in confidence, gained new awareness, and made lasting friendships.
Our top priority this summer is to learn and grow as performing artists and, at the same time, enjoy and receive the benefits of the full Vanguard experience. Your Production Team is led by professional actors and directors, and many of our counselors have been campers themselves! Past Summerstock performing artists have left every summer saying it was the best weeks of their lives!
In addition to rehearsals, we have amazing workshops including Songwriting, Shakespeare, Musical Theater Dance, Riffing, Character Analysis, Rock the Runway, Hip Hop, Belting for Broadway, Tap, 10-minute Musicals, and so much more! Summerstock recreational activities include swimming, boating, archery, hiking, movie nights, dance parties, and of course nightly campfires that perfectly round the best experience for everyone.
Students who have participated in our Summerstock Intensive have been accepted in the most prestigious Musical Theater programs including: University of Michigan, Pace University, Syracuse University, Ithaca College, Boston Conservatory, Ithaca College, NYU / Tisch, Emerson College, Northwestern, Berklee School of Music, HARTT, Montclair State University, Webster University Conservatory, and many more.
I can’t wait for a fantastic experience this summer, and look forward to working with all of you!
JANEECE FREEMAN CLARK
Founding Artistic Director Vanguard Theater Company
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WELCOME LETTER FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Daily Schedule and Programming
Performing Artist Information Form
What happens on the first day?
WHAT CAN YOU BRING AND NOT BRING TO SUMMERSTOCK
Missing Performing Artist
Procedures for Summerstock Emergencies & Drills
MEDICAL INFORMATION AND HEALTH CENTER PROCEDURES
COVID-19 POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Emails will be answered within 24 hours
Summerstock Director: Terri Gorgone
Summerstock Administrator / Parent Liaison: Melissa McHugh
There will be an in person and virtual orientation for students and parents on June 4, 2023
For all students attending Summerstock VTCIntensive. Parents are encouraged to attend.
Sunday, June 4th
10:30 AM - 1 PM
180 Bloomfield Ave, 2nd floor
SUMMERSTOCK VIRTUAL ORIENTATION
For all students attending Summerstock VTCIntensive. Parents are encouraged to attend.
Sunday, June 4th
10:30 AM EST
This season’s musicals are Heathers, High School Musical, and PETE(her)PAN. Scripts will be distributed at Orientation on June 4th. Use this Orientation/Workshop RSVP Link to RSVP!
All Performing Artists are expected to show up to camp – “Off-Book.” This means, all of your character’s dialogue and all of your character’s songs are MEMORIZED prior to the first day of camp. Actors who do not follow this guideline are in danger of losing their role. You should also be familiar with the ensemble numbers. Exact vocal parts (Soprano, Alto, etc.) of those roles will be assigned at a later time, but knowing lyrics and basic melody of all ensemble songs is essential. Since we are treating this like a professional Summerstock experience, we’d like to follow the same protocol.
Parents/Guardians, please assist your camper in learning their material by rehearsing with them at home. If your child has access to a private voice instructor, please ask that they help him/her to prepare all solo material.
ARRIVING AND DEPARTING
SUMMERSTOCK VTC ADDRESS:
Hands In 4 Youth - Home of Vacamas Camps
256 Macopin Road West Milford, NJ 07480
Arrival and Check-In
Location: Camp Vacamas Literacy Building
Date: Sunday July 30th
Time: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM.
** You will be assigned an arrival time via email prior to opening day
• You will meet with our Nurse to complete your check-in and turn-in prescribed medications (if any). All medications should be in their original prescription bottle.
• Parents have the option to deposit spending money BEFORE opening day by using this CANTEEN ACCOUNT LINK. We recommended $150 - $200 for the 3-week camp session. Canteen Funds can also be deposited during check-in (cash or card), and parents have the option to replenish their camper’s balance during camp by contacting the Summerstock Administrator.
• Once check-in has been completed with the Nurse, Performing Artists will meet their counselors and be escorted to their bunks
(parents are not permitted beyond the Literacy Building).
Departure Day: August 20th
• All Shows will have a final performance on departure day, and all are welcome to attend. Detailed information regarding
showtimes, ticket reservations, and parking will be emailed under separate cover.
• We ask that families that plan to attend the final performance pick up your child’s belongings PRIOR to the beginning of their
last show, so that they can say their goodbyes to one another without the stress of packing.
Household cohorts are small groups of performing artists and staff who stay together in a bunk. VTC is assigning household cohorts based on age and gender. Cohorts will not be permitted to share items such as towels, toothpaste, or personal care items.
VTC recommends labeled large or jumbo sized ziploc bags for personal items. It is extremely important to label all of your child’s
Daily Schedule and Programming
We have planned a creative and fun-filled experience! In addition to show rehearsals and workshops, all will have the opportunity to swim, hike, play games and explore our beautiful home away from home. Below is a typical day.
• Wake-up Call 7:30 am
• Breakfast 8:00 am
• Morning Rehearsals 8:45 am - 12:30 pm
• Lunch 12:30 pm
• Free Period 1:00 - 3:00pm
Summerstock store open, games, swimming, boating, archery, hiking, arts & crafts
• Workshops 3:35 - 5pm
Includes Songwriting, Shakespeare, Musical Theater Dance, Riffing, Character Analysis, Rock the Runway, Hip Hop, Belting for Broadway, Tap, 10-minute Musicals, and so much more!
• Dinner 5:00 - 5:45 pm
• Evening Rehearsals 6:00 – 9:00 pm
• Summerstock Snack Bar & Store 9:00 - 9:30 pm
• Campfire 9:30 – 10 pm
• Lights out 11:00 pm
Our Chef serves three delicious meals a day in the dining hall that boasts both indoor and outdoor seating. Those with food allergies and special dietary needs will be accommodated using information supplied in the Performing Artist Information Form.
MANDATORY REQUIRED FORMS
All paperwork must be received no later than June 30, 2023. You can access both forms using the links below.
• The Performing Artist Information Form should be completed online
• Print out the Medical Form. Both parents/guardians and a physician must complete and sign this form. The Medical Form
must be completed and submitted before arrival day to be eligible to participate in Summerstock VTC
Performing Artist Information Form - To be submitted online
Medical Form - Print out, parents and physician signatures required on completed form.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Family and friends are invited to attend all performances of ALL shows. A link for tickets will be emailed under separate cover.
What do Performing Artists do the first day?
After unpacking, our Opening Act/Dinner will take place at 6:00PM, then we’ll get our Artists busy right away with an organized
evening activity. We want to know if there is anything about your child regarding their emotional health and wellness that we should
know. Use the confidential information section in the Performing Artist Information Form to share anything you think could benefit
your child. This information will be used to help us provide the best possible camp experience for your child and is only shared with
select staff, such as your child’s group leader. If you anticipate a severe separation problem please let us know so we can make a plan together. Please contact our Summerstock Administrator directly if there is information you do not wish to be shared with any other staff members.
Homesickness can strike artists and staff of all ages and experience levels. Like most “sicknesses,” it usually disappears by itself within a few days, but may persist longer. Since all problems are individual, we evaluate each situation separately and plan the appropriate response. Reassure your child that homesickness is not abnormal and is not voluntary. Almost all children (and adults) experience a degree of homesickness at some moment.
When communicating with your child, ask about friends and activities. Encourage them to speak with counselors. Congratulate
him/her/them. Do not, however, make any “deals.” Try not to back yourself into a corner or create self-fulfilling prophecies. Avoid such messages as, “If you don’t like it, you can come home.”
Performing Artists especially appreciate a letter from home waiting for them upon arrival. Let them know how proud you are and how much fun Summerstock is going to be. Focus on the activities you know they are excited about. Avoid sending letters about the wonderful trips/times you are enjoying (without your child) or how much you miss him/her. Do not overreact to a negative letter or phone call. It may reflect a difficult moment or something that happened days ago. Do let us know so we can follow up with both you and your child.
One (1) large suitcase, a backpack, and one other small item (sleeping bag, tote bag, etc.) is permitted. On opening day, once emptied, all luggage will be removed from the cabins and safely placed in storage (no suitcases or duffle bags will remain in the cabins as extra storage). Please label each piece of luggage (including sleeping bags and hand luggage) with two sturdy name tags.
Parents have the option to purchase our laundry service in advance for a $50 fee. Laundry service occurs mid-session and includes a VTC Laundry bag that should be labeled with your child’s name. Use this LAUNDRY SERVICE LINK to sign up. Bed linens are provided by our host camp.
WHAT CAN YOU BRING AND NOT BRING?
In addition to items on the packing list, you can bring:
• Music players that have screens 2.5 inches or smaller to be used only to play music or record music (BRINGING A RECORDING
DEVICE IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - CELL PHONES CAN’T BE USED TO RECORD VOCAL PARTS)
• Small, battery-operated fans for next to the bed
• Blow dryers and other hair appliances are allowed
• Cell phones can be brought and your children will have access to them on call-home Sundays. All cell phones
will be collected and safely stored Mondays - Saturdays by the supervising cohort counselor.
By leaving these items at home you are supporting our camp culture:
• Any device (including iPads, Nooks and Kindles and hand-held games) with a screen larger than 2.5 inches.
We don’t want our Artists to have access to the internet, to electronic games, or to videos.
• Electrical appliances, such as fans and hot pots, and cooking equipment of any kind.
• Weapons or explosives of any kind, including BB guns and fireworks.
• Animals or pets.
• Water guns, super-soakers, or water balloons. (these are supplied for activities when necessary). First-aid medications, such as
Tylenol or aspirin (the Health Center stocks these).
• Food or beverages of any kind, including bottled water and juice boxes.
• undergarments & socks
• t-shirts/tank tops
• long sleeve shirts (for cool evening, hiking)
• shorts (gym, cargo, Soffes, etc.)
• long pants, sweatpants, and/or jeans (for cool evening, hiking)
• 1 raincoat/poncho
• 1 light jacket
• 4 pairs of pajamas
• 2 pairs of sneakers
• 1 pair of rain boots/hiking boots
• 2 bath towels & washcloths
• Toiletries (nail clippers, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
• 2 beach towels
• swimming goggles
• sun hat
• 1 pair of water shoes (optional, if you want them for the lake, boating)
• 1 pair of sandals/flip-flops
• swim shirts / bathing suits
• blanket or sleeping bag
• string bag to carry water, snacks, flashlight, script, etc.
• plastic drawers to store clothing in cabins
Summerstock is CASH-FREE. Parents have the option to deposit funds into their child’s Canteen Account HERE prior to arrival, or on opening day, with cash or card at check-in. $150 - $200 for the 3-week camp session is recommended, and funds can be replenished as needed online.
Canteen spending money can be used in the Summerstock Store and Snack Bar and the Store Manager keeps precise records regarding spending. Money in cabins is not permitted and VTC is not responsible for any cash brought to camp. Please reinforce with relatives that Summerstock is CASH-FREE. We will let your kids know before call-home day how much money they have left in their account, and parents can decide if they’d like to add funds.
SUMMERSTOCK STORE & SNACK BAR
Items for purchase include: Snacks and drinks, toiletries, and fabulous swag, including Sweatshirts, T-shirts, and more!
While swimming, everyone will have a buddy for safety while in the water. Buddys will swim together and watch out for each other, and lifeguards will conduct a buddy check before and during lake time.
• No Swimming if a lifeguard is not present.
• No diving into the lake
• Lifeguards will review procedures with all regarding emergencies and protocol that will be followed in the event swimmers need to
exit the lake.
Everyone has the option to mask if desired and will be fully supported.
Missing Performing Artist
If a child is missing, the counselors and Summerstock director will be notified immediately. All staff will be on hand to conduct a search. In groups of three, all will check previously assigned locations. The police and the child’s home will be called by the Summerstock Director within 20 minutes if anyone is determined missing.
Procedures for Emergencies & Drills
On the first day, we will have drills for emergency situations so ALL attendees of Summerstock will know what to do, and where to go in the event of an emergency.
COMMUNICATING WITH VTC
We like being accessible to you. We will reply to emails as quickly as possible, usually within 24 hours. We like being plugged into your kids instead of electronics so we apologize in advance if you don’t receive an immediate response to a request.
In order to strengthen our partnership with you, we ask that you contact our Administrator, Melissa McHugh, with any questions about your child via email - firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to receive a phone call, include the best number and time to reach you. Counselor cell phone use is restricted and not allowed for the purpose of communicating with parents. We can make arrangements for you to speak with the Summerstock Director, Terri Gorgone, and/or your child’s counselors.
Performing Artists who have birthdays during the summer will receive a cake and special acknowledgments throughout the day. Those with summer birthdays can receive a call from parents. Please email the Administrator to set up a time. Please make sure you indicate campers’ birthday on the Performing Artist information form.
Performing Artists are able to receive packages and send and receive mail. WE DO NOT ACCEPT FOOD IN CARE PACKAGES
Vanguard - Summerstock VTC
℅ Camp Vacamas/Hands in 4 Youth
256 Macopin Road
West Milford, NJ 07480
VTC Number: 862-205-3525
MEDICAL INFORMATION AND HEALTH CENTER PROCEDURES
The Medical Form, linked HERE, must be completed by a parent or guardian and reviewed by a physician within twelve (12)
months prior to arrival at camp. As per NJ State law, a child may not attend camp without a completed, current form. Please
print out the Medical Form, have it fully completed, and be certain both your and your camper’s physician sign the
If your child takes any medications, they MUST be in their original bottles and registered with and given to our Nurse upon arrival.
Medication will be stored in a locked cabinet and given as prescribed by our Nurse.
Children should visit the dentist far enough in advance of Summerstock to complete all dental work, including braces, prior to opening day. If your child is undergoing treatment, place any special instructions on the Medical Form and include the phone number of the orthodontist.
Please do your part in helping us start the summer lice-free by screening your child right before arrival, especially if there’s been any exposure, and by indicating on the confidential form the dates of exposures and treatment(s). We will do our own screening the afternoon of Opening Day.
We have licensed medical professionals in residence. If you have any concerns you need to discuss with them, please let us know. In addition to any emergencies, you will be contacted in the following instances:
• Referrals to outside providers or X-rays
• If prescription medications are needed
HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
We comply with this statute, which limits the release of medical information. On the medical form, you can provide authorization for
health care providers to share information with the directors or your child’s counselor about your child’s medical condition, treatment, and/or prognosis, when the health care providers believe such communication to be in the best interest of your child.
Vanguard does not maintain medical insurance for your children. A copy of your medical insurance card, front and back is required, and if you have it, a copy of your FSA or credit card. You will be charged for visits to off-site medical providers, lab tests, and medications.
COVID-19 POLICIES & PROCEDURES
• All staff are fully vaccinated and boosted
• We encourage all students to be fully vaccinated 2 weeks prior to the first day of Summerstock
• Any person with pre-existing conditions should consult with their physicians before enrolling in Summerstock
• Parents/Guardians represent that their student tested negative for COVID within 12 hours of the first day of Summerstock, and has not been exposed to anyone with a known case of COVID within 48 of camp
• Parents/Guardians understand and agree not to send their student to Summerstock if that student currently has COVID-like symptoms or has exhibited COVID-like symptoms within 12 hours of the start date. VTC reserves the right to send home any student exhibiting COVID-like symptoms
Our COVID-19 Policies & Procedures are designed to create a safe environment for our students and staff. They have been prepared using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). Please note, due to the dynamic nature of this virus, they are subject to change as State and Federal guidance is modified.
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against the virus. The CDC defines fully vaccinated as a person who has received their primary series of COVID vaccines and recommends that everyone 12 and up receive a booster shot after their primary vaccination series. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their last dose of their vaccination series.
The NJ State Health Department encourages youth communities to remain vigilant as the virus remains among us, and to take steps to minimize its impact. The CDC and State of NJ guidelines no longer require masks and social distancing. All students have the option to remain masked and will receive support if they choose to do so.
CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT
We know that you share our belief that Summerstock is a great place to strengthen a teen’s sense of responsibility and personal code of ethics. We expect your children to understand that they are accountable for their actions and to accept the consequences for inappropriate behaviors. There is zero tolerance of the following:
• Bringing into Summerstock or using illegal drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or vapes
• Leaving campgrounds without supervision or permission
• Sexual activity
• Entering the cabin of the opposite sex without permission
Summerstock is a bully-free community. Physical, emotional, or verbal abuse of any member of the community will be addressed immediately. Bullying and other forms of hazing or harassment (pranks, stealing, destroying or defacing property, name-calling, teasing, spreading rumors, or icing out cast members or staff) will not be tolerated. These Participation Expectations extend to the year-round use of social media. Profiles, pictures, and messages on social networking sites need to be bully-free zones and devoid of inappropriate content. Anyone violating these expectations will be dismissed or not be welcomed back.
Protocol & Procedures
There will be occasional conflicts between students, but abusive/bullying behavior will be addressed and documented. In consultation with the Summerstock Director, Administrator, and Artistic Director, staff use training, judgment and counseling skills to determine if an incident is a serious breach of the Code of Ethics and Conduct. All serious incidents will be reported to and documented by the Summerstock Director (SD).
The following is from Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center:
Conflict vs Bullying: What’s the Difference?
Bullying is different from conflict:
● Conflict is a disagreement or argument in which both sides express their views.
● Bullying is negative behavior directed by someone exerting power and control over another person.
In normal conflict, children self-monitor their behavior. They read cues to know if lines are crossed, and then modify their behavior in response. Children guided by empathy usually realize they have hurt someone and will want to stop their negative behavior. On the other hand, children intending to cause harm and whose behavior goes beyond normal conflict will continue their behavior even when they know it's hurting someone.
Bullying is done with a goal to hurt, harm, or humiliate. With bullying, there is often a power imbalance between those involved, with power defined as elevated social status, being physically larger, or as part of a group against an individual. Students who bully perceive their target as vulnerable in some way and often find satisfaction in harming them.
Initial Response Action
Those involved will be separated. If bullying is suspected, campers will be asked to give a detailed description of the incident to at least two staff members.
1. If a staff member did not witness the incident, but others did, they will be asked to give a detailed description of what was witnessed with another staff member present.
2. An incident report will be filed with the Director, and the Administrator will notify the parents of those involved.
3. Please protocol with repercussions below for Physical and Emotional, verbal, bullying, hazing, and harassment.
ANY FIRST TIME INCIDENT OF A CHILD PUTTING HANDS ON ANOTHER CHILD WILL RESULT IN THE PARENT/GUARDIAN(S) BEING NOTIFIED BY THE DIRECTOR TO PICK UP THEIR CHILD.
Summerstock Director notifies the Administrator and the parent/guardian(s) are called. The camper will be sent home and suspended from Summerstock participation for one (1) day.
Summerstock Director notifies the parent/guardian(s) and the child is sent home. Child is suspended from participation in the program.
Incident: Emotional, verbal, bullying, hazing, harassment
Camper sits out the remainder of the day. Administrator will notify parent/guardian(s) of the incident and advise the parent/guardian of the protocol should there be a 2nd and 3rd offense.
The Administrator will notify the camper’s parent/guardian(s) of the incident, and will advise the parent/guardian of the protocol should there be a 3rd offense. The camper will be sent home and suspended for a minimum of one day of camp.
The Director will notify parent/guardian(s) of the incident, and the camper will be sent home and suspended from participation in the program.
DEPARTURE DAY, Sunday, August 20th
All Shows will have a final performance on Departure Day (and the 3 days leading up to departure day!). Detailed information regarding ticket reservations and parking will be emailed separately. If families will be in attendance for the final performance, we ask that you pick up your child’s belongings PRIOR to their last show so that they can say their goodbyes to one another without the stress of packing!
Please note that Summerstock VTC policies, protocol and procedures are subject to change