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Rock Generation

Mar 31, 2009 05:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

Rock Generation’s director, Susan Holt Fletcher, known as “Fletch,” understands what it is like to lack self-confidence. As a child, she suffered with a stuttering problem. Her parents enrolled her at a song, dance and theater studio and she was able to overcome her speech challenges. “Performing on stage helped build my confidence,” Fletch says, “I credit the encouragement I received to help end my stuttering.”

Instilling self confidence in children has become Fletch’s life. She first worked with the international organization Sunshine Generation. The well-known group focused on growing the ranks and allowing hundreds of kids to join. In 2006, she decided to break away to form Rock Generation. The new group maintained the emphasis of helping kids grow through live performance; however, Fletch wanted to keep a limited number of performers so that no one would get lost in the crowd. “It is important that the casts are small,” she says, “so coaches and children can get to know and trust each other.”

Rock Generation is comprised of 25 children, all 3-14 years old, and two coaches. “It is all about the kids,” Fletch explains. “Every child has talent and we just bring it out.” The group performs in safe venues where the children and the shows are appreciated. Each show is structured to help bring out the performer’s strengths. Songs and skits are selected to go along with each child’s age and ability. The children love performing at local retirement homes. “It is a win-win for everyone,” Fletch says. “The residents love the entertainment and the kids love the appreciation and enthusiasm.”

All the songs they perform are uplifting and have empowering themes. One of them is a Disney Camp Rock hit “This Is Me” with lyrics  that strike a cord with performers – I’ve always been the kind of girl that hid my face...So afraid to tell the world what I’ve got to say...This is real. This is me. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, now gonna let the light shine on me.

Eleven-year-old Amanda Ramos, a three-year veteran of Rock Generation, loves being involved. This Sutter Middle School sixth grader used to be a very shy kid. “I do a lot of stuff now I didn’t do before,” Ramos says. “I have so much more confidence.” She is also grateful that the group has a “no have-to’s” policy. If a child is not up to performing, they are not forced to participate.

“My reward is watching my performers shine,” Fletch reflects. “It still touches my heart when that familiar look of triumph lights up a child’s face for the first time. Who could ask for more than that?”

With the help of Rock Generation, each child gets their moment to star and shine. And, the feeling of success can never be taken away. What a great way to send kids out into the world!

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