The value of Orcas Center for island kids | Letters

Over a month ago I graduated from high school here on the island. This is a time in my life that is filled with excitement and optimism. And while I am very excited for what the future holds, like many of my peers I have taken the opportunity to reflect. I have reflected on the people who have done so much for myself growing up. The organizations that have influenced me. And the community groups that have helped show me who I am. So now that I am moving on into the next phase of my life I can say that without a doubt, the Orcas Center has gotten me here.

I first got involved when I was in sixth grade. Small theater classes for elementary students would get my peers and I out of the classroom and onto the stage. Now there was something so magical about being involved in the theater back then. Everyone in the class could feel it. It was like you were a part of something much bigger.

After this experience I began to fill my plate with as many Orcas Center activities as I could. I tried my hand on and off stage. I found myself running the lights or sound, helping with tech cues and of course performing. Even when I couldn’t find the time to be fully involved in a production, the people at the center could find me a role in the theater. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I was always welcome.

I saw many of my peers feel the same thing. Through high school theater arts classes and numerous opportunities for young students in productions, the center truly provided a place that fostered creativity and confidence for younger generations. Now I can’t vouch for what the center means to the majority of the community. I can’t stand for the people who run the facility or put together productions. There are a lot of things about the center that I just can’t speak for, but what I can say is that without the Orcas Center, young students on this island would be in trouble.

The center provides a space where any student can grow and develop. Whether it be on stage, the catwalk, the costume shop or the light booth, there is a place for everyone to discover a creative side many didn’t know they even had.

The Orcas Center has ignited a spark in many younger generations of island kids, and as these generations grow older I am so excited to see what this spark will set ablaze. It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a community theater to give that child the confidence it needs.

This space truly has the power to change young lives, and that I can vouch for. So while I reflect on everyone and everything that influenced me over the last 18 years, I can tell you now that it would all be worth nothing without the community theater. Here’s to many more generations, inspired by the magic of the Orcas Center.

Ray Doss

Orcas Island