Create. Perform. Inspire. Lead.

Hey everyone! Ashley here, Camp Director of the Teen Theater Summer Camp at the 14th Street Y. I grew up spending just about every summer at a camp very similar to our theater camp in Southern California. I met some of my best friends to this day in that program. Some of the alumni have gone on to perform on Broadway, some are working in film and TV in Los Angeles. Some are teachers, some are lawyers, some are opera singers, some are engineers. Regardless of what you study in college or what industry you end up working in, having theater in your life as a young person is an unforgettable and invaluable experience.

Our mission at TTSC is “Create. Perform. Inspire. Lead.” This summer, we are bringing together a community of unique and diverse theater companies and artists to empower our students in these four areas. Stay tuned for future posts announcing our programming partners who will work with our students to:

CREATE their own theater in workshops and breakout sessions, while developing theater technique.

PERFORM in two students showcases for an audience of family and friends and a mock audition workshop for a panel of theater professionals.

INSPIRE others through the creation of new theater based on issues facing young people in NYC.

LEAD fellow students as they work collaboratively and receive mentorship from guest artists and staff.

We are gearing up for another amazing summer of acting, singing, dancing, directing, creating, and sharing. All that’s missing is you! Register here! 14th Street Y members save on registration. Want to bring a friend? You’ll save an additional $100 on your registration! Email athaxton@14streety.org with any questions.

Thaxton Ashley  - 1092Ashley Renee Thaxton is the Camp Director of the Teen Theater Summer Camp at the 14th Street Y, originally from Southern California. A graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School, she is a theater artist, educator, and arts administrator. In the fall, she will begin her MFA at Brooklyn College in Acting. Learn more at www.ashleyreneethaxton.com

What’s the Opposite of Spoiled?

I had an interesting talk with one of my children a few weeks ago.  He’s 9 years old, in 4th grade, and is just beginning to really ask some big questions about himself and his place in the world.  Recently, having noticed his interest in money, how much he has and on what he should spend it, my husband and I decided it was time for him to learn about its value by establishing an allowance.  In exchange, we told him, he would be expected to do certain responsibilities every day.  We made a list together about what these things would be, and decided what amount he would earn weekly.  I thought it was great,  my son seemed pleased, and so we forged ahead.

opposite of spoiled book

Then I started reading some of the articles about Ron Lieber, a speaker we’d scheduled for the February 28th Pause/Play event at the 14th Street Y.  He’s the New York Times “Your Money” columnist and author of the book “The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money”.  Given what my son and I had just spoken about and the plan we’d made within my own family, I thought it was pretty good timing.  I dove into some of the articles Ron had written, expecting the advice to be somewhere along the lines of what we’d already put in place. But it didn’t happen that way.

Ron wisely points out that my husband and I don’t get money for doing chores around our house, and neither should my Son.  It makes sense that children should understand that their contribution to the family and to the home is just part of being a responsible human being.  These things should not be tied to money. Besides, there will surely come a time when there is something else my son will decide has more value to him than money. What happens the day he decides he’d rather not unload the dishwasher and just pass on his allowance that week?

But more importantly, Ron (in greater depth than I will go into here) makes a great case for understanding the full scope of money and what it can teach.  He underscores the importance of saving, and the importance of giving.

Here’s what happened when I spoke to my son after listening to Ron’s advice.

I told him that he was expected to do the list of chores we’d made together, and that his doing them was important to the well-being of our family.  I told him that doing them was his responsibility, and if he neglected them he would lose privileges.

I explained that the doing of these chores was not in exchange for his allowance.  His allowance would be given to him every week, because it was important that he have some money to spend, to save, and to give. We talked about what that meant.  As it turned out, he was already thinking hard about spending vs. saving. He had been troubled by the notion of spending money he received because he knew it meant he wouldn’t have it anymore.  The notion of a ‘savings jar’ was guidance that was a relief to him.

Probably though, the most gratifying thing I got out of this conversation and this approach was the conversation about giving. I hadn’t realized that my son had noticed and was bothered by the fact that some people had more than others.  He began talking immediately about homeless people that he sees every day in the subway, and organizations that help children and animals. In short, he didn’t fully realize the difference he could make and the contribution he could be in the world by his giving. To say it was heartwarming is an understatement.

There is so much more great advice in this book,  If you didn’t get a chance to come to the lecture on Saturday, we recommend that you check this link for other venues where you can see Ron.

You can also purchase his book by visiting here.

Finally, here are a few links where you can read more about Ron’s advice on giving (for grown-ups), giving (for parents and kids to discuss together), and on kids and gratitude.

Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.

This Weekend at the Y: Purim Fun for Everyone

by Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, Executive Director

Purim is a holiday that is a thankful and joyful affirmation of Jewish survival, focused on joy and hope. We celebrate an ancient tale–the Book of Esther (aka the Megillah)– to remind us that we celebrate our remembered escape from persecution by generous acts towards those who are currently in need.

At the Y, we are excited to invite everyone in the neighborhood to celebrate together this weekend, at Pause/Play on Saturday, 2/28 and at a LABAKids concert on Sunday, 3/1. 

Saturday’s Pause/Play  will feature many celebratory Purim themed activities such as juggling, art (making masks), games and sports with our wonderful New Country Day Camp staff. Kids are encouraged to come in costume and join in a Purim Parade.  Adults can participate in activities with their children, or separately in two very special activities just for them.

Childcare and kid drop off activities are available!

On Sunday, enjoy LABAKIDS Purim concert together with your kids. Come in your favorite costume, make masks for an animal parade and take snapshots with our photo booth!

Each of these events are fun and accessible ways to get into the Purim spirit.  Everyone is welcome.

Traditionally, there are four observances for Purim–and each one has ways to engage at the 14th Street Y:

  1. Retelling the Purim story, frequently with humor and levity, dressed up in costumes as the characters in the story. This weekend at the Y, you can wear a costume to Saturday’s Pause/Play, bring toddlers in costume to our singalong at 4:00PM with Debbie Brukman, and party at the LABAKIDS concert on Sunday.
  1. Having a majestic celebratory feast, which traditionally includes healthy adults getting drunk. We hope that you will come enjoy delicious snacks at Pause/Play sponsored by Colson Patisserie and Sweet Loren, and that adults will drop off their kids at NCDC classes and come to the whisky tasting at 4:45PM with Dan Friedman.
  1. Giving financial gifts (tzedakah or charity) to those in need (matanot l’evyonim)
  2. Giving care packages of food and other treats to our friends and neighbors (mishloach manot).

As you decide how to give to your friends and to those in need, come chat with NY Times “Your Money” Columnist Ron Lieber as he discusses his new book, The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids who are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money–and think with your neighbors about how to raise kids with excellent values who know how to save, splurge, and give in meaningful ways.

We hope to see you all this weekend for a wonderful celebration!

Keeping it Green at the 14th Street Y

Kids in our After School, Preschool, and “Now We Are Three” program are always busy learning, growing and thinking about ways to be kind to the world and to each other.

Recently, all of these programs spent some time creating green themed projects, Preschool and Now We Are Three in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Holiday for trees, and After School as part of a whole day of greening.

After School  Counselor Mauricio had the idea to create carnival games out of recycled cardboard.
After School Counselor Mauricio had the idea to create carnival games out of recycled cardboard.
wack a clown
After School kids spent 13 weeks planning and creating games like this one.  The entire After School community got a chance to try them out on ‘greening day’!
bin it to win it
Would you know where to bin it? After School kids play “Bin it to Win it”, and learn when and how to recycle. And when to compost!
house 301 tree
House 301 in our Preschool created this beautiful tree in honor of Tu B’ Shevat. We like to remember the good work the trees are doing to bring us fruits and leaves when spring comes back again.
tree preschool
Preschool House 305 made this ‘present tree’ which you can see when you climb the stairs at the 14th Street Y!
trees tu b'shevat
There are so many ways to use the beauty of nature in the art that we do. We are looking forward to spring!

Pause and Play for Family Fit Day: Saturday January 24th 2-6PM

Cold Saturday Afternoons in January.  What to do?

In October of 2013, you may recall that we offered FAMILY FIT DAY for you and your family.  We saw how much kids loved to climb a rock wall, jump in a bounce house, and do activities normally featured in a summer camp day, like play GAGA or do martial arts with the fantastic Sensei Mark.  This year, we’re excited to do this in January (when the weather outside is frightful) and add the Family Fit Day element to our continued series, Pause/Play: Saturday Afternoons at the Y.  You can exercise together or in different sessions, celebrate sustainability and the new year for trees (Tu B’ Shvat Seder with Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein)….even take a family photo!

Take a look at the extensive schedule we’ve got planned right here.

FREE for members. Hope we see you there!

kids climb wall
Our Gym is transformed to a Rock Wall Climbing experience for kids!
PLAY in the 4th floor playroom!
Kids 4 and under get moving in our 4th floor playroom.
(kids really love GAGA)
Our Gym will also feature a new GAGA pit for lots of happy faces like this one.
Kids did Martial Arts,
Sensei Mark is back with martial arts
(it was a big crowd)
Toddler sing along and dance party with Debbie Brukman returns!
Family Yoga with Emily Sussell
Family Yoga with Emily Sussell

And so much more!  See you there.

Pause/Play: Join us this Saturday, December 13th!

Did you make it to Pause/Play: Saturday Afternoons at the 14th Street Y last month?

If not, there’s another opportunity this Saturday, December 13th, 2:00-6:00PM.  Though each Saturday has a different menu of items, each experience is designed to help you connect, play and refresh, depending on what you, or any member of your group or family most want to do. All ages!  Keep in mind that though the 14th Street Y always has great programs for kids and families, this month we’ve got some specialty items especially for adults!  Included this Saturday will be Acro Yoga with Thai Massage, Community Discussions, Meditation, and  “Why do Jews Love Whiskey?”  A tasting by Dan Friedman–though as with all Y programs you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it! (Remember, Babysitting is available all afternoon if you need it.)

See our full schedule for this Saturday here.

Pause/Play is FREE for Members.  Tickets for General Public are available here!

Below, check out a few highlights from last month.  Hope to see you on Saturday!

Photo Credit- Bridget Badore

Your friendly greeters!  (striped shirt optional)
Your friendly greeters! (striped shirt optional)
Making our own pickles with LABA artist Shawn Shafner
Making our own pickles with LABA artist Shawn Shafner
Photograph by Bridget Badore
Amichi Lau-Lavie leads a discussion on a Digital Sabatical.
Kids love GAGA! (the fun of dodgeball without the pain)
Kids love GAGA! (the fun of dodgeball without the pain)
(kids really love GAGA)
(kids really love GAGA)
Parents and toddlers sing and play together.
Parents and toddlers sing and play together.
(it was a big crowd)
(it was a big crowd)
Photograph by Bridget Badore
Storytime with PJ Library came right before….
PLAY in the 4th floor playroom!
PLAY in the 4th floor playroom!
Kids did Martial Arts,
Kids did Martial Arts,
bonded over making pizzas
bonded over making pizzas,
played basketball with their family,
played basketball with their family,
made beautiful art,
made beautiful art,
And had snacks in the lobby from Colson  Patisserie.
And had snacks in the lobby from Colson Patisserie.

Why We March. People’s Climate March Sunday, September 21st

 There are so many reasons to March.  We’ve got a few to share, as well as details about where to go, when to be there and what to expect.

eliza
“I’ll Miss the polar ice caps when they melt”

WHERE TO GO:

Enter at 58th Street and 9th avenue because that is where everyone from the Jewish People’s Climate contingent will be, including the 14th Street Y!  We will be on 58th Street between 8th and 9th avenue, but be sure and enter at 9th avenue!

Look for the 14th Street Y banners!

 

WHEN TO BE THERE:

Be prepared to show around 11AM, the march is scheduled to begin promptly at 11:30AM.

 

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE:

  • To learn more about the narrative of the march and the groups, visit the lineup page here.
  • At 12:58pm a moment of silence in commemoration of the victims of climate change worldwide will be held – and at 1:00pm they will sound the ” climate alarm.

 

WHERE WE’LL WIND UP: 

  • The march will end on 11th Avenue, where there will be a huge celebration of everything we just accomplished — a massive People’s Block Party.
  • The block party will have six different areas, one for each of the march’s themes, where you’ll be able to learn about the many issues connected to the climate crisis and connect with other people who want to continue to organize around them after the march.
  • There will be dozens of food trucks parked nearby, stages with music, poetry and performances from around the world, community groups displaying the art they made for the march, and a powerful ribbon-tying ceremony where you can pledge to continue to take action on climate.
  • It’s going to be a huge celebration, not only of what we’ve done, but also of what we will do — it’s the time to talk and get inspired about what comes next after the People’s Climate March.

This link will allow you to share via facebook a declaration that you’re marching, and an image of the march route:

 

 

 

 

don't want 2B underwater
“I don’t want to be underwater”
teach my kids to fish
I want my children to be able to teach their kids to fish”
we have to share the universe
We have to act to save the universe”
my children
My children
jane
“I want my children to be able to breathe”