FHS student enjoyed time with ‘Young Americans’

Published 12:07 am Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bruce Sampson, one of the founders of the Washington Parish Community Arts Association and who produces the popular Believe Summer Camp Experience, has a strong 40-year connection to The Young Americans — who will conduct a three-day workshop from Jan. 18-20 as part of their Music Outreach Tour in Franklinton.
The culminating show will take place at the Bogalusa High School auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 20. All parish students are welcome and encouraged to participate.
Sampson says the Young Americans Foundation inspires the world every day with the power of song, dance, performance, and theatre. Claire Kellar, who attended Franklinton High School, is a prime example of what the Young Americans can do for a student.
Kim Kellar is her mother.
“Claire has gained so much confidence and knowledge through this journey,” she said. “It was so hard to let her go so far from home but she has just had an amazing adventure. She has been exposed to so many creative people, opportunities and experiences she would never have had if we had not supported her through this journey.
”She is growing into being an amazing performer and songwriter. We are so proud of her.”
Claire herself said, “I have definitely seen a change in myself since I’ve joined the Young Americans. I feel more secure in my performance and more confident in myself. I’m not scared to make mistakes and take risks anymore.
“The opportunities Young Americans has brought me are incredible. I’m so incredibly lucky to be apart of an amazing organization that brings light and laughter to so many kids across the world.
“Growing up I took dance classes and I was a Demonette and Demonaire at Franklinton High. I also started writing music my freshman year of high school but, I can see so much growth in my song writing since I joined the group. I have benefited in every aspect, with Young Americans.”
Claire said that she was able to improve her self esteem and encouraged to take more risks, as a result of her time with the Young Americans.
“I remember walking into my first acting classes and I was truly terrified because so many of my peers had been exposed to theater,” she said. “I was so scared to mess up. By the end of my semester I was so sad that it was all over because I found a new love for acting. I have noticed how relaxed I feel on stage now.
“When you are in Young Americans you’re performing all the time whether it is with kids, Christmas shows, the wonderful staff, or Bill and Robyn, who our amazing directors. I could not have asked for a better experience with Young Americans.
“I was so blessed this past semester with some of the best teachers in the entire world and the best peers I could have ever asked for.
“I feel like I’m always growing in my performing, writing, and singing. I’m even still growing into my own skin, but I do feel a sense of professionalism. When you complete the Young Americans program you have knowledge in performing, lights, sound, putting up and taking down a stage, and you learn about the hard work people put into their own craft.”

Claire Kellar performs with the Young Americans.