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Growing Up with ETC

Hi all! I’m Maya Koenig, a camp counselor and administrative assistant at ETC. I’m also a YoungArts Film Finalist, a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and a high school senior headed to NYU to study film and television production in the fall. I’ve been involved with Educational Theatre Company for 13 years and counting, attending their summer camps and clubs, participating in their school residencies, and now working at the very camps that started my love of storytelling. I’m excited to share how ETC has helped me grow as a person and an artist!

I was introduced to ETC as a kindergartner through Creative Drama Camps and fell in love with acting. I was, and still am, an anxious kid but acting helped me come out of my shell. I realized that by telling stories, whether I was acting or otherwise creating them, I could connect with people. While participating in the plays ETC produced at McKinley Elementary School during their residency, ETC’s teaching artists encouraged my exploration of the arts through a process-based curriculum that helped my confidence grow as I focused on learning rather than making a perfect final product.

It was this encouragement that gave me the confidence to try out filmmaking in ETC’s Camp Comedy, Shake the Screen, and ETC-on-Film Club. It’s both outrageous and reassuring that I’m able to look back at the films on the ETC-on-Film YouTube channel and essentially watch myself grow up from an elementary schooler in group shots to a credited writer and director.

In these camps and clubs, I began to fully understand the collaborative nature of the arts as I met and worked with campers and teaching artists that are still my friends, collaborators, and mentors to this day. I’m so grateful to ETC for providing me with not only the resources and instruction to get into filmmaking but also people who were legitimately invested in what I had to say with my art and who went above and beyond for me.

Working for ETC now, I see just how much hard work and organization went into making my experience as life-changing as it was. Moreover, I’m excited to watch ETC continue to grow and provide the accessible arts education that it always has.

[Editor's Note: You can see Maya's first appearance at ETC-on-Film HERE, and her latest directorial masterpiece HERE.}


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