Monday, November 10, 2014

A LETTER

Dear Frederick's Fireballs community,
“About half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.” S. Jobs

Over the past weekend, I reflected deeply about the Camp W sign up situation.  Please take a few short minutes to read my honest thoughts regarding the winds of change for the program. I hope this letter sheds some light on the decision-making process and answers a few pressing questions.

Won't you accept my apology?
I apologize for not disclosing the Frederick's Follies information any sooner as it seems it caught the parent and student community off guard. I was waiting for some old doors to shut and new ones to open. Unfortunately, it took a little longer than expected. When the announcement was made a couple of weeks ago, I knew it would be received with some unhappy feelings--for good reason. I was, and still am, prepared to hear critical feedback. I want you to hear your voice. I value it.

How special were those days?
Frederick's Follies lived and breathed in my classroom for the past 13 years. I was eternally grateful for such an amazing opportunity. I felt so honored to host such a wonderful event due to the generosity of the parents, teachers, and administration. Those moments of building up the program were some of the greatest days and nights of my life, even if it sprouted a few silver hairs. The relationships built within the PV community will always rest in my heart with such profound respect and care.

How careful was I?
It was an arduous and carefully considered decision to make Frederick's Follies a new member of Camp W. I carefully reviewed it under a clear mental microscope, and discussed the new idea attentively with family members, friends, and the PV administration. Ongoing discussion regarding the potential change were constant. Making alterations to the program was done with tremendous regard.

Why was it difficult?
Pulling it away from the homeroom experience was difficult for several reasons. Asking people to pay, when it was offered for "free" for so long, was a tough pill to swallow. Also, not allowing just my homeroom students to experience the show themselves created some inner conflict. No longer would it be just sacred to my own brave students.

What is the purpose of Camp W and Frederick's Follies?
After countless hours of discussion and personal debate, creating a performing arts camp for young students, 4th-8th grade, seemed like a prudent idea for me to reach out deeper and wider to the community.  Camp W, particularly FF, serves many purposes.

1.  It allows for students and myself to grow without the constraints of local, state, and national academic requirements. Cutting into academic time to meet the needs of the FF program was starting to occur a little too often. Reconstructing and threading standards each year became exhausting and time consuming.

2. I witnessed first hand the toll that the demanding program had on my students, parent community, family, and me during school hours. Hopefully, by pushing it to an after school event it will undoubtedly ease that stress load for all the involved participants.

3.  The heavy interest from the general public in wanting to participate in Frederick's Follies grew exponentially. I decided it was time to unlock the door for those interested in wanting to be a part of the enriching experience.  Allowing 4th-8th graders to participate seemed like the next obvious step to take.  In addition, when I had non-homeroom students tapping at my door or emailing me asking to be a participant of FF, it was sometimes devastating to gently squash their aspirations simply because they weren't enrolled as one of my students.  

4. I was becoming more aware of the imposition it was putting on teachers and administration. Changes had to occur. I'm happy that those changes are underway.

Why the high cost?
Anyone that owns a business can you tell you that it requires hours of planning and financial data observation and execution. Calculating the Frederick's Follies expenses was done with careful dollar amount precision. Factored into the costs include renting facilities usage and equipment, insurance, advertising and marketing of materials, merchandise, snacks, printing, after-show party, etc. Camp W is in it for the long run, so I'm always willing to crunch numbers and make the financial adjustments for future Camp W sessions.

Will performing arts leave the classroom?
No, I still get the opportunity to inject Performing Arts into the classroom to help navigate the curriculum in a fun, manageable, and exciting manner. This includes trips to Robert's Market, Microsoft, end of year banquets, and many other exciting activities. Performing Arts will always be the vehicle that drives my instruction.

Am I willing to learn from my strengths and weaknesses?
You betcha. I am willing to travel on new terrain no matter how rugged. I am eager to learn more about entrepreneurial skills such as etiquette, publicity strategies, social media, and management.

How about one more ?
Will you enter through these new doors and be a part of a small growing business that provides an enriching experience and top notch customer service for all? 

Come on in.

~Mr. William Frederick

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