Families in the Spotlight is a 5-day evidence-based recreation program for the whole family. It is packed with fun and games designed to improve family harmony through showing families how to play across the ages. Denise uses developmental psychology to show families how to use recreation to literally re-create themselves as children grow. Create lifelong family traditions.
While it’s true that no camp appeals to all campers, KITS is a camp for perhaps more kids than you might initially assume. Dyed in the wool theater kids will of course find a home here, though those who don’t have their hearts set on a career on the stage will as well. Denise Goldbeck founded the camps nearly four decades ago based in her experience within the performing arts, though also based in her experience in the field of developmental psychology. She saw the camps as an opportunity to grow young peoples’ skills, but also as a means for developing resilience, confidence, and interpersonal relationships. The success of the camps over the intervening years has been well demonstrated, with literally thousands of kids attending the programs.
Denise Goldbeck, Founder
PhD Cand, DipC, RCC
The performing arts is so much more than a way for “theatre kids” to shine. The truth is, they are an incredible vehicle for healing, learning, and developing.
I know this to be true. After all, I’m speaking as a former dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, singer and director of musicals who decided to become a Counselor with a Masters in Developmental Psychology.
When I created the Kids in the Spotlight (KITS) programme, my intention was to marry the joy of the performing arts with transformative developmental experiences. 30+ years and 4,200 kids later, with former participants now enrolling their own kids, I feel confident that this combination works well. With KITS, we emphasize social skills over performing arts skills, with life-changing results.
Understanding the science behind our programme takes a little learning, but if I were to try summing it up quickly I’d share just a few things:
It’s About Leading & Following: We teach social skills like communication, teamwork, and respect through activities that allow kids to practice leading and following.
Mixed Age Experiences Matter: Our programme always mixes age groups (young kids with older kids) because research shows us that when younger and older kids confront challenges together it spurs the development of cognition, social skills, poise, confidence, empathy, and communication ability.
KITS Mimics the “Ancient Village”: Our programmes recreate the experience the “ancient village” that didn’t segregate age groups. This natural way of living and working leads to greater social harmony. In fact, kids who only spend time with kids their age can develop anxiety and over-competitiveness.
Ultimately, KITS is a unique, safe, and research-backed way for kids to discover the confidence and social skills they need to thrive. For five days, our KITS kids have the time of their lives, and they walk away forever changed. They become better able to resist peer pressure. They begin to create stable, healthy identities. They learn what it is to lead. They feel more empathy for others.
It’s a beautiful thing to witness—and I’m so grateful I’ve been witnessing it for over 30 years.
“Our daughter attended her first Kids in the Spotlight last year and keeps asking when can I go again. What she learned about herself and what she learned to love motivated her to join a choir and begin piano lessons where she is excelling. Thank you Denise and to all those involved! We are attending every summer!” Darrel, Vancouver, B.C.
“Our sons have been part of Kids in the Spotlight for the past 8 years. Every year we have seen our kids develop as caring people an have watched them learn new interpersonal skills. Our older son had a unique opportunity to bring Kids in the Spotlight to a remote village in Kenya. We really appreciate all the effort that Denise puts in to make KITS such a success for our family and all the other participants.” Lisa and Dieter, Washington, D.C.
“Over the past nine years, Denise Goldbeck’s programs for youth have become a cornerstone of our family life. My two sons have navigated through childhood from age 7, through adolescence, and into early adulthood using the many skills they learned as participants, interns and leaders of Kids in the Spotlight. They have developed confidence, empathy and have formed lifelong friendships. The leadership skills they learned through Kids in the Spotlight and Youth Intern Training are helping them to open new doors for themselves - inspiring them to be curious about others or to step forward in social and school situations from elementary school through to university. As a parent, I simply cannot imagine our lives without the depth of this program - it has given us all a resilience we did not know before and has enriched our communication - we are deeply grateful.” Catherine, Victoria, B.C.
“As a paediatrician and psychiatrist, as well as a published researcher in the field of Moral Reasoning, I have been highly impressed with the work of Denise Goldbeck over the 15 years that my grandchildren (now young adults) have attended her annual workshops for children. While the vehicle for learning and activity is the preparation of musical shows for public presentation (to family and friends), it is the process and method she employs with the children (aged 3 to adolescence) that is clearly evident in their character-building, moral development and behaviour. Our grandchildren have been so enthusiastic about the experience (as have we) that they have insisted on coming every years for over a decade even though this has meant travelling, often alone, from overseas. I cannot overstate the value and importance of Denise Goldbeck’s work with the children who attend her workshops.” Bud, Chicago, Il.
“I first met Denise Goldbeck 10 years ago when my two grandchildren started their annual attendance and over the years we have developed a professional and a personal relationship. KITS is a unique program in which my grandchildren learned about themselves and how to cooperate and have meaningful relationships with others, while developing their creative talents. They are now both interns in KITS, engaged in leadership activities with the younger participants in the program. Denise has developed a very precise educational methodology and at the same time has been able to trust the interns to model and teach what she has taught them. While my relationship with Denise has mostly been around this program, I also had other professional contacts with her, in which I have been impressed by the breadth of her knowledge and her constant curiousity to learn more.” Michele, Chicago, Il.
“I have seen how much a 5-year old can develop confidence and enthusiasm in such a few days.” Carla, Edmonton, Al
“My children have attended the Kids in the Spotlight program for several years and they always walk a little taller and hold their heads a little higher after each program.” Julie, Vancouver, B.C.
“Because of the challenges with family and some development, we thought Kids in the Spotlight would be a perfect fit for our daughter, and it was!” Leslie, Nanaimo, B.C.
“The information in the caregiver sessions is based on academic theories and models but is presented in ways that are practical. This means that I can take this year’s theme of moral development and observe my grandson’s behaviour in a positive way.” Debbie, Toronto, On
“Thank you Denise for providing this rich experience not only for my granddaughter but for so many other fortunate kids. Your program is awesome!” Christine, Victoria, B.C.
January 9, 2019
Kids in the Spotlight to Host Three Spring Break Programs Across Canada
KITS flagship program involves children/youths of all ages creating a musical production over five days supporting healthy development and... Read More