By ANGELA CASCO
When an African proverb suggests that it takes a village to raise a child, it’s probably best for parents to take it to heart, especially when it’s about nurturing the young’s gifts and potential.
While it’s true that the presence of parents is important in every single step of their child’s growth, seeking guidance from those who are the best at what they do does no harm at all.
In fact, for expert mentors from the eighth season of Promil Four i-Shine Talent Camp, the latest edition of the milk brand’s carefully designed summer camp for kids as young as six and as old as 11 years old, it’s the opposite.
Kids need mentors
ids need mentors In a panel alongside fellow mentors iconic G-Force choreographer Georcelle Dapat-Sy, National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, seasoned theater actor and Trumpets president Audie Gemora, prima ballerina and Ballet Philippines’ Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, arts camp mentors, Masterpiece Movement’s art director Kara Escay and award-winning craftmaster and Papemelroti’s Robert Alejandro have perfectly described what pursuits can mean to kids who will become creatives later on in life—a form of expression and a reflection of “how you see the world.”
“[The reason] why kids need mentors is because we can help open up their view of the world and when the kids see that open view, we open it up even more,” Escay says. “Kids need someone who can show them that what they know is not all that there is. It’s best to always expand that view.”
Learning apart from what’s inside the home and classroom is crucial for kids to be the most talented version of themselves. “[Mentors] help provide that additional space for learning,” Dapat-Sy, i-Shine’s dance camp mentor, explains. “Spaces like G-Force Dance Center have the facility that conducts the process of learning, which will introduce them to discipline and help them develop the habit of excellence.”
Mentors play a part in encouraging kids to embrace the said values and the process. “That’s the key in nurturing whatever gift they possess,” Macuja-Elizalde says. “In ballet, for instance, it takes six or more years of dedicated training before someone becomes a professional ballerina.”
Honing the talent
How then can mentors, in close partnership with parents, get a child to enjoy a craft and commit to it? DapatSy believes exposure is a good first step. “Kids at the age of i-Shiners are interested in everything,” she says. “That’s why you should expose them to theater, dance, music, arts, and ballet because you’ll never know what will interest your kids and what will make them happy in their creative pursuits until exposure to camps such as this.”
Alejandro, in his art classes, tries to be as interesting as possible for kids. “I believe in making arts fun because there’s so much that you can do with it,” he says. “What I do is think of ways to keep it fun and keep it different.”
It’s the same thought Gemora echoes when schooling kids in theater. “Role playing is an activity natural to many kids,” he says, citing how kids who play hero figurines by themselves often see a “full production” only they can see and imagine. “If you encourage your kids to be what they are—playful and imaginative—they can become great ambassadors of theater in the future.”
Cayabyab also stresses the importance of preparing kids in the face of rejection, which, he admits, happens even to the best of us, including him. “It’s best for parents to let their kids understand that it only concerns one aspect of who they are,” he says. “One rejection is not a rejection for life.”
It’s only a start
As i-Shine only consists of classes in a span of seven days, the music camp mentor says joining such classes should not be a ‘be-all, end-all’ in nurturing a child’s gift. “This camp we’re doing, it’s only a teaser,” Cayabyab says, saying that no one succeeds without taking the small steps first. “Seven days will not be enough. This will simply open their minds to the possibilities.”
Honing a talent in every form, whether that’s visual or performance art, requires time, too, according to Gemora—a lot of it.
“I would recommend that parents encourage their children to take more and longer workshops after this,” he says. “Nevertheless, greatness doesn’t happen in seven days but it is a good start.”
i-Shine Talent Camp Season 8, which starts on April 13, is now open for enrollment. For more details, check out Promil FOUR’s website, www.promilnurturethegift. com.ph/ishine