Camp Story Contest
PAW’s Camp Story Contest
Beloved by PAW families, PAW’s Biannual Camp Story Contest runs two times a year: first, in August to wrap up another exceptional Summer while camp memories are fresh on your mind, and then again in March to welcome Spring and eagerly look forward to the new camp season!
Submit your favorite memory, story, or moment from PAW and you could WIN a free session of camp!
Enter during the following dates for a chance to win!
September 15th – October 15th
March 1st – April 1st
What do I have to do?
- Just write about your time with PAW! Your story can range from funny and sweet to inspirational and encouraging. You can even talk about your favorite PAW teacher or how your PAW Arts Education has made a difference in your life, school or grades.
Who can write a story?
- Everyone is eligible to write a story! Whether you are a camper, a parent, or even a grandparent, if you are excited about a summer at PAW Camps, we want to hear from YOU!
Do I have to be a past PAW Camper to enter the contest?
- Absolutely not! If you have not been to a PAW Camp before, we would love to hear about why you are excited to attend a PAW Camp this summer!
How long does my story have to be?
- Your story can be a page or just a few simple paragraphs, as long as it helps us imagine just how exciting, memorable, meaningful, and fun-filled your time at PAW has been!
How do I enter?
- To enter, simply fill out the submission form on this page and click on Submit. It’s that easy!
GET INTO THE CAMP STORY CONTEST SPIRIT BY ENJOYING PAW’s PAST ENTRIES AND WINNERS BELOW!
Good luck…we can’t wait to read what you send in!
Entry Authored By: Delilah, Camper, Age 11
When I was six, I discovered the magic of PAW Workshops. Five years later with eleven plays under my belt, I am here to say that PAW is the best program ever! Here’s some reasons why:
- Have you seen what they put on in just 2 weeks? From plays ranging from Cinderella to The Greatest Showman, they somehow pull it all together in the matter of 54 hours. (Trust me, I did the math!)
- They teach you a variety of performance techniques, from singing from the top of your lungs, to how to roll on the ground in style!
- At PAW, they teach everyone that no matter what their role is, they should love their role and that everyone is equally important in the show.
- Another huge part of the show are the amazing teachers and staff that work at PAW. Without them, who would teach the dances and songs? Who would cast the roles? Without them who would bring out the best performance in each of us? (Plus, without them, all the campers would just be running amuck!)
- Finally, I would like to say that PAW really did teach me my love for theater. They have lots of fun plays with diverse roles. Every theater kid can find a play they can enjoy! Some of my favorite roles include:
Luna Lovegood – Hogwarts: The Musical
Mufasa – The Lion King
Boq – Wicked
Sebastian – The Little Mermaid
Charity Barnum – The Greatest Showman
So, for every parent who is looking for their kid to have an incredible theater experience, I totally recommend that you choose PAW for summer camp. Tell them Delilah sent you!
Entry Authored By: Angelina, Joanna’s Mom, Age 8
Our daughter, Joanna (JoJo), was born a performer. Ever since she could talk and walk, she would sing and dance for our family and friends. When we learned about PAW’s musical theatre camps four years ago, we signed her up right away. Ever since then, we have been fans and participants of the amazing camps each summer. She truly enjoys the wonderful teachers, excellent instruction in singing, dance, acting, as well as the friendships she’s made by meeting other kids. JoJo has learned important life skills such as teamwork, cooperation with various people (teachers, camp counselors, other campers), listening, self confidence, and the joy of musical theatre. She has cherished opportunities as Sally in “Charlie Brown and Friends,” Young Prince Philip in “Sleeping Beauty,” Rafiki in “The Lion King,” and her favorite role as Mary Poppins last summer. Our family has shared the great news of PAW with many family and friends, who have subsequently joined in the fun. We will continue to cherish each summer experience, and keep singing the praises of PAW in the years to come. We have participated in many different summer camps, and PAW is definitely our favorite. Hopefully JoJo can participate in the junior camp counselor program when she gets older, and empower younger kids to have confidence and joy in performing and being who they are on and off stage.
Voldemort? by Kristy
“Wait, you want to be Voldemort?” I said when Caden, my nine-year old got home from camp. “Yup, that’s what I want,” Caden said. “Isn’t there any other part you are interested in? How about Harry or Ron?” I said. “No mom. Voldemort is cool.”
In June, my kids attended “Hogwarts Musical” which was a story about Harry Potter and friends. The best part was that the music was rewritten lyrics to Beatles classic songs. Both Caden and Kallie were singing “Come Together” in my car one morning on the way to camp. “How do you know that song?” I asked. “Camp,” was their answer. “Do you know that song is famous? I mean super famous. Grandma and Grandpa will be so excited when you sing that song to them! “ I said.
The next day Caden came home beaming from ear to ear. “I got it! I’m Voldemort!!!” he shouted. “Hmmmm….that’s great,” I said imagining my baby as a horrible snake-like pale faced creature. “I’m Dobby’s friend,” Kallie, my seven-year-old said. “Sweet!” I said, again trying to imagine my baby girl with giant elf- ears.
Two weeks of practice and lots of Beatles music went by. We invited my parents to come watch, as they were super excited to see the show. They had already given the kids a synopsis of Beatles history.
Soon Caden took the stage in his cape and white makeup. When he spoke I had no idea where this evil villian came from! He was commanding. You could hear a pin drop in the audience. Kallie was cute as can be singing as Dobby’s friend in the chorus.
We captured many moments as a family that day. We discovered an acting ability in my son and daughter that we had never seen before. It was our third year at PAW and one we will never forget.
Entry Authored By: Karol, Camper, Age 12
“And now I proudly present to you, PAWsadena’s production of Cinderella!” That was my cue to go on. I was the fairy godmother, and in our paw version she narrates the story. Everyone was clapping and for some reason I couldn’t move. That was because I was in a tight hug with all my friends that had spent a good part of the summer at paw with me.Cinderella was the last show of the summer, which meant today was the day we had to say goodbye until next year. I knew if I stayed in the group hug people would start to suspect something was wrong, so I gave the group hug one one last squeeze and I went on stage and started the show. Flash forward a bit, the show was amazing, and as you all probably know the Cinderella tale ends with the prince finding out that Cinderella is the owner of the shoe and they get married and live happily ever after. See, our version was done to Mama Mia songs, so the closing number was dancing queen, and you could feel every emotion coming from every person as we sang and danced out every line. “Digging the dancing queen…”. The last line of the song played and we took our final bows. After that we all looked at each other in realization that it was now time for the moment we had all been dreading: saying goodbye. I won’t lie, there was a lot of running mascara coming from everyone, counselors included. I guess that really shows just how much they care for and love their job. You see, that’s what’s different about paw, it’s not just your ordinary summer camp. You start the first day knowing no one and you leave having a brand new family. I’ve always been a musical theatre dork, and not many people at my school are interested in it or enjoy it as much as I do, so I don’t really have anyone who gets me in that perspective. However, the minute I walked into camp I heard people singing a song from a broadway musical, and I felt at home. Every single person at paw, from the 5 year old camper to the director, is part of the paw family, and once you have gone to paw, you’re a part of the family forever. Saying goodbye is always hard, but I leave with somewhat of a reassurance knowing that we would have a family reunion and do it all over again next summer. I’m grateful to paw, yes for teaching me better acting, dancing and singing techniques, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, for giving me my second family.
Entry Authored By: Amelia, Camper, Age 7
This was my third summer doing PAW camp. I am 7 this year and finally able to read the scripts myself!
We signed up for Hamilton which I had never seen and was so excited to learn. We also signed up for Wizard of Oz. I got the Gatekeeper and my mom and I had so much fun finding a fun costume. We were laughing walking through stores looking for a fake mustache! I loved being the Gatekeeper.
I REALLY wanted to do Cinderella the last week of camp but we were going on vacation and my mom said “That’s enough camp!” I kept asking her and she kept saying “Sorry, Amelia!”
One day after we got back from vacation, my mom came up to me and said “Guess what?” And I said “what?” and she said “I signed you up for Cinderella and you get to go next week!” I was so excited I almost cried and I jumped up and down and screamed!
When my dad took me my first day of camp, the other kids yelled my name and came up and hugged me because they were so happy to see me back at camp! That made me feel really good. I was so happy to see them too, and Miss Maddie.
And guess what? I got the part of the Duke and I had 11 lines! I made my mom read with me every night and I was really nervous but also excited. On the day of the show, I remember hearing the parents laugh when we were being funny and I was so happy. I think we did a great job! We signed up for two plays again next year and I already am asking how many more days left until camp.
Entry Authored By: Rio, Camper, Age 10
PAW is one of the most fun camps in the world. I have many great memories at PAW, and I can’t wait to go every summer. Every December we count down for the list of plays, and my mom yells “the email is here!” It’s hard to pick a play and wait until the summer! One of the best memories that I have from PAW is my first play. When I first started doing PAW I was six years old, and I was super nervous, and pretty shy. On the first day I was standing in the corner with a hula hoop. When we got our parts in the play, I was a firefly. I thought the firefly was the best character ever in the Princess and the Frog. Steve, Ms. Natasha and everyone taught us that every part counts. When I was first learning to dance in the Princess and the Frog I was barely moving at all. During the actual play I started to dance more. One special thing that stood out was that all the staff and the kids were super nice and really happy. We used to play Stage Dodgeball. One thing that was funny during Stage Dodgeball is when I won the whole game kinda standing in the corner. Standing in the corner is supposed to be cheating but everyone does it once in awhile. I always was excited to play Stage Dodgeball. In the play there’s a scene called Down the Bayou and during the scene we were supposed do a conga line and we all got out of order and split up. I was confused thinking “why are we doing this weirdly?” It got fixed finally on the day of the play. We all sang loud and had a great time during that scene of the play. That was a great memory at PAW. 2 more months until summer and I can’t wait to see my friends and staff at PAW!
Entry Authored By: Amanda, Camper, Age 11
I’ll never forget my experience at Performing Arts Workshop at the Rancho Palos Verdes location, with the most exceptional teachers who made my time there amazing! It was Wednesday, the day that we got our roles in “The Greatest Showman.” Everyone was so nervous and we were all holding hands. I remember really wanting the role of Jenny Lind. About 7 roles had been handed out and there it was, “Now Mrs. Jenny Lind will be played by… Amanda!!!” I was ecstatic! Everyone was clapping and I was smiling so much my cheeks were hurting. I practiced so much that all of my lines were memorized on the first day I got my script! My solo song was my ultimate favorite song ever since it came out! I bought my dress right away and was so excited when I got it! I started practicing with it instantly! Then the day of the performance came, and it was my song now. I sang my heart out and everyone was cheering and clapping and I felt so good about myself. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I’ll never forget it!
Entry Authored By: Abby, Camper, Age 11
Hi, my name is Abby and I’ve been singing, dancing, and acting since I was little and PAW has left a big impression on me. I first started PAW when I was seven years old and we were doing Cinderella Mamma Mia and I was an aristocrat. I met a friend named Misty and I was super happy because she was an aristocrat too. The next time I went to PAW was for The Little Mermaid when I was ten. I really wanted to play Ursula because I thought it would be fun! The first day of camp I met a girl named Rose. She was really nice and we became best friends. Anyways, Wednesday came along (which was the day that we find out our parts) and I was super nervous! Me and Rose were sitting next to each other hoping that we got the parts that we wanted. When they were about to announce Ursula, Rose whispered “good luck ” and I said “thanks” and then I got the part! I was so happy and exited! Then Ariel #1 was announced and it was Rose! I was so happy for her because it was the part she wanted! After the play, we still kept in touch and remained friends. My third show here at PAW was Hip-Hop Hamilton last summer. And I could not believe who I saw! Misty! It was funny because we became friends without recognizing each other at first and then we figured it out. Also, they cast us as sisters. I was Angelica, she was Eliza and our other friend Lauren was Peggy. I met a lot of good friends at this show. I got their emails so we could stay in touch. PAW has taught me about teamwork, being kind, and how to act, sing, and dance. I Love PAW and what they taught me! Thank you!
Entry Authored By: Luiza, Camper, Age 10
We Have Each Others’ Backs
I’m outside. Everyone is talking fast to their neighbors, waiting. Waiting for the counselors to tell us to line up. It’s time to go back stage. Now I’m back stage. I see a couple of kids move forward. They’re walking onto the stage. I sit still and listen carefully for my cue. And there it is. I stop, take a deep breath and walk out on to the stage. I say a few lines then look on to the audience. I locate my parents and sister waiting, watching and cheering me on. I look at everyone’s eyes. Everyone’s cheering me on. At the back of the room, I find a few of the counselors that I know and love. I can feel their eyes on me, supporting me. I know how hard they’ve worked to get me here.
I take a few more deep breaths as I hear my song coming on. This is the moment my dance partner and I have been practicing for. We do our part of the dance and then the whole cast comes on – singing and dancing along with us.
I take the final pose as the song slowly drifts off. And then, so do I, off the stage. Once safely hidden by the back stage door, my dance partner and I high five as the final scene ends. We run back on to the stage.
We did it! I did it! I take a bow and the crowd cheers louder. Everything that happens next is a blur. Everyone takes their bows as the final song comes on and we all dance down the stairs into the audience. The audience greets and cheers for us with flowers and other little gifts – showing their support. And that’s how PAW is, I support you. You support me. We have each other’s backs. And even from the smallest role to the biggest, everyone does the best they can and puts everything in to help one another.
I’ll never forget when I was Zazu in the Lion King, last summer, dancing down the stairs into the audience with all of the kids in the camp, my friends, right beside me.
Entry Authored By: Max, Camper, Age 11
My experiences at camps have been good, but not as good as Paw. The teachers there are so nice and welcoming…When I do plays at Paw it makes me feel like I belong. I hope I get to be there again. See you on the stage!
Entry Authored By: Zoe, Camper, Age 10
I love this camp a lot! I’ve been going here for two years now, and I have loved it so far! I was in the Harry Potter play in 2018, and just last summer I was in the Greatest Show on Earth. I would love to be a part of your Hip Hop Hamilton next year as well.
One specific memory is from last year when I was Dobby. I had to wear these fake elf ears, and they were kind of loose. At the end, I had to do a somersault. When I did that in the show, my ears fell off. Not the real ones, the fake ones. It was pretty funny. After my line, I had to grab them and give them to my friend in the audience. That’s only one of the MANY fun memories that I’ve had in PAW. This past summer, I was the first PT Barnum in the Greatest Show on Earth. Both of the roles were amazing! But there were so many fun moments that I’ve had at PAW. I love to play Sandman, Robber, and lots of other fun games that we played. Also, I’ve really liked all of the teachers, the dialogue, the songs, and everything else.
All in all, I would really love to win a free session at PAW, because I love this camp a lot, and it’s a great way to get kids started for acting in the future. Practicing is fun as well! I very much like to do dress rehearsals, go over blocking and dialogue, and sing and dance. I would really love to come to camp next summer!
Entry Authored By: Glenna, Alahna’s Grandma, Age 11
For the past seven years, one of the big highlights of my summer has been attending my Granddaughter’s performance at Performing Arts Workshops. From the time she was a little peanut member of the chorus to becoming one of the stars of the show, she has clearly enjoyed the program. Her skills at singing, dancing, speaking on stage, and making friends have blossomed. Even more important, the program has helped her gain self-esteem, poise, and confidence which benefits her in her life. All the productions are skillfully staged, choreographed, and directed. The staff finds ways to provide all the children, no matter their role, with ample stage time and experience. The children have such a fun and happy time. My granddaughter is a model of the program’s success in my eyes.
Entry Authored By: Abigail, Camper, Age 14
The sun was just barely greeting the cool sky on a crisp, early morning in late summer when I first walked into camp. When I walked through the huge doors, a lady in a black and white camp shirt walked up to me and greeted me with a smile. I quickly learned that her name was Miss Jessica. However, little did I know that I would never, ever forget her in all of my years to come! I looked around and took in the room in one deep breath. I knew I was bracing myself for the hardest part of the day… saying goodbye to my mom. I gave her one last hug, knowing I wouldn’t be able to do that again for another 8 hours (so long!) It was camp time! We sang, danced, acted, played, and I learned the names of about 30 other kids that day. I went home that night and my parents asked me how camp was. I looked at them with a pout on my face and arms folded and said in the sassiest voice I could muster, “I give it a TWO out of five stars!!” My parents exchanged concerned looks and they told me to give it another chance. I slept, thinking of their words. Within my next days at camp, I received my role, the first one I had ever received, Green Lantern. As we got further into the play, Westside Super Story, my smile grew wider and wider. By the end of the two, short weeks of camp, I came home singing all of the new songs I learned and practicing the choreography I learned. Finally, after I took my final bow at the close of the show, I rushed up to my parents and gave them a broad smile with pleading eyes and exclaimed, “I want to go back!” Six years, several sessions of PAW, and a countless number of PAW performances later, I am here, writing this story. I’ve played the parts of villains, princesses, heroes, and even animals, and I have enjoyed every one of those parts. Though I love and cherish every performance at PAW which I participate in, that first session never escapes my mind. Whenever I think about that experience, I smile and even say some of my lines out loud that I remember. I can remember some of my lines from 6 years ago, but one thing I will never forget are the songs and all of the lyrics. Along with the songs, I can remember the wonderful choreography put in by the amazing, Miss Jessica, who I love and am always looking forward to seeing at camp every year!! PAW has left me with many great memories I will hold in my heart forever!
Entry Authored By: Anna, Agassi’s Mom, Age 9
I have to say ‘Thank you’ to a wonderful team at Performing Arts Workshops!
My name is Anna and my son Agassi was at PAW during the summer session last year. It was a blessing to see him so happy and excited every day he went to the camp. The music theater was absolutely amazing. You guys made a wonderful job putting all this together! Agassi was a Aqua-man in ‘The West-side Super-story’. It was so much fun for him to be part of a real performing team. We were really surprised to see that you guys managed to organize all of this in just a couple of weeks. Kids were playing like pros! Music, decorations and the directing were absolutely amazing! And the best part of it was that Agassi made new friends. The atmosphere that you create at the PAW makes kids open up and express their creativity on so many levels. He still remembers fun he had at the PAW and hopes to be part of another session soon. As for me, signing him up for it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. What can be more rewarding than seeing you kid happy? Thank you again for your wonderful work!
Entry Authored By: Eliza, Camper, Age 11
My name is Eliza and here is my favorite Performing Arts Workshop memory. My first summer camp was Sleeping Beauty when I was five years old. Little did I know that I would be doing the same show with some of the same people six years later. I had a rough start in camp that first year, as far as making friends. After the first day I did not want to go back. My mom encouraged me to go and give it another chance. I went back and ended up having such a great session that I returned at least once each summer to the same camp. I even did the after school sessions at my elementary school, and have been in a total of 18 PAWS shows. I have been in shows with many of the same people and kept the same friends year after year. One of the friends I have made is Vanessa. She is three years older than me and we have been in four summer camps together, including Sleeping Beauty, my first camp. Last summer Vanessa and I ended up at another camp together, Sleeping Beauty! The sad part was that Vanessa turned fourteen and this was her last year at PAWS summer camp. We ended up going full circle together: my first show to her last. The first time we were in Sleeping Beauty I was an elf and she was a lady in waiting. This time I was Prince Phillip and she was Sleeping Beauty number one. It was great to be costarring the show with her. We even got the big duet together for the song, I’m With You. She was and is one of the closest friends I have made at summer camp. We still stay in touch even though I know she won’t be at camp next year. Our final show together is my favorite PAWS summer camp memory.
Entry Authored By: Lindsay, Camper, Age 9
My PAW Song
(Sing to the tune of Candy man from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory)
Who can take a Summer (who can take a Summer)
Sprinkle it with cheer (sprinkle it with cheer)
Add singing, dancing, and acting
Then it will appear
PAW Summer Camp
PAW Summer Camp
Who can take tomorrow
Dip in a dream
Add in new and old friends
And then we can scream
Go PAW Summer Camp
Go PAW Summer Camp
PAW Summer Camp can cause it makes each day loads of fun
Choose this Summer
To go to PAW
At the end of 2 weeks
You’ll perform a play for all
Go PAW Summer Camp
Go PAW Summer Camp!!!
Entry Authored By: Denise, Karly’s Mom, Age 12
My daughter has been singing, dancing and acting since I can remember. She lives and breathes to perform. She goes to a performing arts middle school. Last year she did not get into the musical theater group. She was devastated. I could see the light leave her eyes. The eyes that always see the best in people. I saw her spark leave her spirit. The free spirit that makes her who she is.
She attended The Greatest Showman in Studio City. When she got the part of PT Barnum, the light and spark was returned to her. I saw my old happy free-spirited little girl. Kristy and her staff were absolutely amazing with her. Somehow, they made her believe in herself again and I could not be happier.
This was her second summer with PAW and she will be back.
Entry Authored By: Sasha, Camper, Age 11
My favorite memory from my Performing Arts Workshop experience was when I got to perform in front of my friends and family. At first, I didn’t even want to go because I thought I would be really bad at acting and I would be judged for how good or bad I am. However, my friend persuaded me to go, as she had done the workshop for 5-6 years. I don’t regret any decision I made of joining the camp. Acting is a place where everyone can express themselves in their unique way and bring something personal to any character. No matter if you are a beginner or if you are talented, there is always room for improvement. I was casted the role of Flora, (the red fairy). I really loved my character, and the costume that my mom made for me. When it was the day of the show and I went on stage for the first time, I felt very nervous but so proud to act and dance after working for so many hours to make our show perfect. Seeing everyone, especially my friends sitting in the audience smiling and clapping for us was so rewarding. The audience cheered for us, and every butterfly in my stomach seemed to fly away. This camp has encouraged me to audition for my school’s drama class this year! I really want to continue going to the Performing Arts Workshop and put more smiles on people’s faces!
Submit Your Story 💖
Congratulations on choosing to enter PAW’s Camp Story Contest!
To celebrate our campers’ and families’ special stories, we will be publishing many of them here for your enjoyment.
1st Place Winner
1 Full Free Session of Camp
2nd Place Winner
1 Session of Camp Half Off
3rd Place Winner
1 Session of Camp Half Off
As our special thank you just for submitting your story we are gifting all of our contest entrants with the Red Ribbon Award of $100 PAW Camp Dollars.
Your Red Ribbon $100 Award can be applied when registering for a session of camp or, if you are already registered, to add an additional session of camp.
Fall Contest winners will be announced on PAW’s Official Facebook page on October 31st
Spring Contest winners will be announced on PAW’s Official Facebook page on April 15th