Allison Kenny is an award-winner blogger, author, actor, and co-founder and Creative Director of Spotlight:Girls. – a certified B Corp that inspires, educates, and activates girls & women to take center stage. A multi-media platform and summer camp called Go Girls! ™, Spotlight: Girls gives girls the skills to step into their light and become the leaders we’ve all been waiting for.
As an author, Allison has written and published Starring Celia, a chapter book about a fictional Go Girl!, and Go Squirrel!, a series of coloring books aimed at teaching young readers complex social/emotional lessons through fun and accessible social stories.
Growing up in Phoenix, AZ in a house with 3 other sisters, Allison built her values through active engagement in softball teams, theater productions, show choir, and youth ministry programs. She was a natural leader from a young age who was particularly influenced by her role in WomanStory, a Phoenix-based organization that supports the spiritual and emotional development of women and girls in intergenerational, arts-based camps and retreats.
Prior to moving to San Francisco in 2002, Allison earned her B.A. in Theater Performance from Northern Arizona University. Performing and directing with Theater Outreach for Social Change, Allison traveled throughout the Southwest, touring a series of vignettes that depicted social issues central to the lives of teens and young adults. It was here that Allison’s passion for creating meaningful theater emerged.
Since 2002, Allison has worked in the Bay Area as a theater teaching artist with kids ages 2-18. For 5 years, she studied Floortime Play Therapy with Dr. Ilene Lee and worked as an inclusion facilitator with kids on the Autism Spectrum. Allison served as a Youth Development Trainer and specialist with the YMCA of San Francisco and The Children, Youth and Families Minister at First Congregational Church of Oakland and an ECE Trainer to Preschool Teachers across Alameda County. In 2012, she became a Certified Instructor with Kidpower, Teenpower, Fullpower International and leads safety workshops for kids and families all over the Bay Area.
Allison studied Self Revelatory Theater, Expressive Arts and Drama Therapy with Armand Volkas, MFT and the Living Arts Counseling Center. She is an ensemble member of the Living Arts Playback Theater Ensemble, a troupe of improvisational actors and musicians who “play back” personal stories of audience members in ways that both honor and illuminate the original experience.
Allison and wife, co-founder Lynn Johnson, adopted their daughter through the foster care system in 2015 in Oakland, CA. She writes about her family’s adventures as a queer, multi-racial family on the blog RaisingAGoGirl.com. As a blogger, Allison has been recognized by SheKnows Media as an Experts Among Us and has received awards from BlogHer’s Voices of the Year Award (2016) and HealthLine.com for Best LGBT Parenting Blog (2016 and 2017).
As a girl advocate, Allison believes women and girls are the world’s greatest natural resource. We bring creativity, compassion, nurture, resilience, reliability and love to any challenge and situation. When we forget that, the whole world suffers. Allison’s work is to create art, experiences, and books for girls and women to remember who we are and why we have value.
Lynn Johnson is a visionary entrepreneur, speaker, girl advocate, and Co-Founder/CEO of Spotlight: Girls – a certified B Corp that inspires, educates, and activates girls & women to take center stage. A multi-media platform and summer camp, Spotlight: Girls gives girls the skills to step into their light and become the leaders we’ve all been waiting for.
To date, Lynn has raised over $500,000 in capital to grow her business and prepare to franchise Go Girls! ™ - their popular summer camp - nationally. A sought-after speaker and facilitator, her work has been recognized by Ashoka Changemakers, SheEO, and ICA Fund Good Jobs. Lynn is the very first recipient of the Force for Good Fund, an accelerator focused on women/people-of-color entrepreneurs growing best-for-the world businesses. Most recently, she became the winner of SheKnows Media’s #ThePitch – a platform and video series launched to elevate, connect and coach female entrepreneurs.
Lynn wanted to be an actor when she was just 5 years old and has spent her whole life centered around the learning, teaching, and creation of theater. She spent her childhood moving throughout the northeastern U.S. until her family settled in Concord, MA her 8th grade year. Being a “drama geek” and 1 of only a few African American students living in the town at the time, Lynn developed a strong awareness of and commitment to those who live their lives “being different.” At a young age, she began to develop a personal and professional mission dedicated to using the art of theater to celebrate difference while building strong, peaceful, loving, and diverse communities.
For over 25 years, Lynn has worked with people of all ages from all over the country using theater as a tool for personal transformation and community development. After graduation from Northwestern University, she discovered her entrepreneurial tendencies when she founded TurnStyle Teen Theatre, a multicultural teen ensemble. The company used the process of creating original productions to explore themes central to the lives of its members. Also in Chicago, Lynn worked as a company member for Child’s Play Touring Theatre, a nationally recognized theater that performs stories and poems written by young people throughout the United States. Later, in Chapel Hill, NC she designed and directed a number of community-based educational programs that focused on literature, oral history, community building, and personal narrative. She served as the Education Director for both the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance in Chapel Hill and Burning Coal Theatre Company in Raleigh. She also created programming for the Opera Company of North Carolina and directed The Village Whippersnapper Ensemble, a group of home-schooled students and their mothers that adapted and performed classics and original stories for local school groups and libraries.
Lynn regularly works as a facilitator, speaker, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of girls education, youth development, arts education, social/emotional learning, and entrepreneurship. She works as a coach for Jenny Kassan Consulting and serves on the National Advisory Board of Teaching Artists Guild, the Board of Directors of the How Kids Learn Foundation, and the Alameda County Commission on the Status of Women.
Lynn and her wife and co-founder, Allison Kenny, live and work in Oakland, CA with their yappy dogs and squirrely Go Girl!, playing theater games at the dinner table and fighting to see who can be the bossiest.
We won’t let her lose her light.
In this time of #MeToo, we say NOT EVER.
Let's raise girls to be proud of who they are and where they are from.
Let's raise sons to honor and respect girls. Let's raise humans to love and accept and celebrate all genders.
It starts with us.
Your daughter is brave, confident, beautiful, vulnerable, bossy, dramatic, shy, creative, and magic. She’s growing up in a world where violence toward women is no longer tolerated.
We all agree to speak up. To speak out. It’s gonna take all of us.
She is our world’s greatest natural resource.
Each girl shines so bright.
Together, our daughters light the way towards a safer, more equitable, and more compassionate world.
We won’t let her lose her light.
THIS SUMMER, YOUR GO GIRL! WILL STEP INTO HER LIGHT. ONCE SHE TAKES CENTER STAGE, SHE WON’T EVER LEAVE IT.
This summer, your Go Girl! will:
- Learn to say yes to people, ideas, and experiences that light her up
- Learn to say no to people, ideas, and experiences that keep her from her light
- Learn from highly qualified teaching artists and fierce girl advocates
- Be inspired by Grammy-nominated Alphabet Rockers, best-selling author Kate Schatz, and other revolutionary artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs and changemakers
- Make plays, music, media, art, and books that empower her to take center stage in her life
- Build community with other girls & gender nonconforming kids across race and background to practice empathy, collaboration, and solving problems in peaceful and powerful ways
WHO: For rising 1st-6th grade girls and gender non-conforming kids
WHAT: There are two different Go Girls! programs depending on the age of your child -
- Go Girls! Camp - Rising 1st-4th grade girls learn social and emotional skills through the arts. Girls practice theater, expressive arts, music and perform their very own play that promotes pro-social values.
- Go Girls! Productions - Rising 5th & 6th grade produce, edit, direct, and star in their own short films. Girls learn to think critically about the media they consume while creating original girl-powered media.
WHEN: There are four 2-week sessions throughout the summer. Each session is Monday - Friday, 9am-4pm with a culminating performance and film screening on the final Friday of the session. Aftercare is available until 5:30pm.
- Session 1: June 18-29
- Session 2: July 9-20
- Session 3: July 23-August 3
- Session 4: August 6-17
WHERE: Go Girls! happens in three Bay Area Locations -
- OAKLAND (North) - North Oakland Community Charter School, 1000 42nd Street (Sessions 1-3 ONLY)
- OAKLAND (East) - Mills College Children's School, 5000 MacArthur Blvd (Session 1 ONLY, no Go Girls! Productions)
- BERKELEY - Shu Ren International School, 2125 Jefferson Avenue (Sessions 2-4 ONLY)
- Go Girls! Camp is $729 with an early bird rate of $650 when you register by February 15.
- Go Girls! Productions is $749 with an early bird rate of $670 when you register by February 15.
- Aftercare is available for an additional $75 per week (or $40 per day for drop-ins)
- Scholarships are available. Please click here for details.
- A deposit of 25% is required upon registration to hold your spot.
This is what bold and brave girls look like
Girls who have the courage to say yes to what they want and no to what they don't. Girls who have the courage to make mistakes and try again. Girls who have the courage to express all of their feelings through art, activism, and other audacious forms of expression. These are Go Girls! - and they are the leaders we have all been waiting for.This 8-minute document produced by Spotlight: Girls gives you a glimpse into the lives of a few Oakland, CA girls who have been Go Girls! for years. Let them inspire you to take center stage!
The camp day runs from 9am-4pm. Do you provide before/aftercare?
Yes. Before and aftercare are provided at all sites. Also, in the morning, you may drop your daughter off at 8:30am for no additional charge. More specific drop off and pick up information will be available when you register.
Can we sign up for just 1 week of camp?
No. Go Girls! Camp and Go Girls! Productions are both designed to be a cumulative experience for girls with a clear beginning, middle, and end. We understand that you may have to miss days here and there. That is fine. But you must be able to commit to the full program when you register.
Can we switch sessions after we register?
Sure, provided there is a spot available in your desired session. If there is not a spot available in your desired session, we can place you on the waitlist or keep you in your original session.
This is a change from years past. The play is at 3pm on the final Friday of camp in the performance space of the camp location your daughter is enrolled in.
What if we have to miss the last day?
Again, the camp is designed with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Although working on the play is not the only part of what we do at Go Girls! Camp, it is a very large part of the experience. Go Girls! are learning what it is like to create something they care about and to share the hard work of their play with a loving audience. Having to miss the final play is a real bummer – for your daughter and for us.
Go Girls! Camp is for girls ages 6-11. How do you serve such a wide age range? Will it really be developmentally appropriate for my daughter?
We believe that magic happens when girls and women come together across ages. Every Go Girls! Camp is a chance for girls to be in an all-girl community. Older girls become big sisters to the younger ones, practicing leadership, empathy and remembering how to play. Younger girls get to see what kind of 5th grader they might grow up and be one day.
In Go Girls! Productions (GGP), older girls will participate in their own classes led by their own teaching artists. However, at specific points in the day, GGP campers will be able to practice their leadership skills while building meaningful relationships across ages. This intergenerational environment is rounded out by our Go Girls! Leadership Team, our young Assistant Teachers, and our adult teaching staff.
It is very important for us that each girl have the opportunity to be met right where she is at. Go Girls! need times to build skills, go deep, be challenged and feel safe among their peers. At Go Girls! Camp, we break each session into Ensemble Groups, about 10-15 girls, based on age. These groups have their Drama and Expressive Arts classes together and they work together to build their own play that will be part of the final performance.
Who teaches Go Girls! Camps?
Go Girls! Camp grew out of the direct teaching of founders, Lynn Johnson and Allison Kenny. With the growth of Go Girls! Camps, Lynn and Allison are no longer the day-to-day teaching artists at the camps. However, they do show up regularly as guest artists. Allison sometimes leads Kidpower training for the girls and Lynn uses her 25 years of theater experience to help the girls explore their themes even deeper.
Instead, Lynn and Allison hire and train an incredible Go Girls! Camp staff. Each Go Girls! Camp is led by a Play Director (who teaches drama classes and directs the final play) and features an Expressive Artist (who teaches visual arts classes, leads Community Circles, and helps the girls create the visual elements of the final play) and a Music Specialist (who, of course, brings the funk!). We only hire teaching artists who share our vision for igniting a compassion revolution through the arts and have tons of experience teaching this age group. These leaders are supported by Assistant Teachers who are in charge during free play time and lend their incredible talents to classes and the final play. Our staff team is rounded out by our amazing Go Girls! Leadership Team (GGLT), our innovative counselor-in-training program for middle school girls. All of our staff also receives extensive training from Allison and Lynn before camps begin.
What is your camper/teacher ratio?
Our main goal is that every girl to feel safe, valued, and respected. To that end, our camps are intimate – 45 girls maximum with a 6 full-time staff members. In addition to those staff members, our Go Girls! Leadership Team members are on site to play with and role model for girls; all helping to create a loving environment.
What is your cancellation policy?
When you first complete your registration, we require you pay a deposit of 25% of your tuition to hold your place. This deposit is non-refundable. The balance for all camp sessions is due on June 1. In the event of a cancellation before June 1, we refund your balance in full (less the deposit). If you cancel after June 1, we refund your balance less an extra $50 cancellation fee and your initial deposit. If you cancel within 30 days of the first day of your summer camp, we will issue you a credit in the full amount of your balance (less the deposit and cancellation fee) for you to use towards next summer's Go Girls! Camp. This credit is non-transferable and will be valid for 365 days.
Do you have financial aid?
The vision of Spotlight: Girls is to ignite a compassion revolution by putting girls center stage. To that end, we set aside funds each year for the purpose of sharing the experience of Go Girls! with as many girls as possible. We use part of this money towards creating programs in specific communities of need. The rest we use to help girls in need attend our fee-based summer camps. If you are in need of assistance to attend summer camp, click here for more information.
What should she bring to camp each day?
Your daughter should arrive with her lunch (with a water bottle if possible) and enough food for a morning snack. We always have water and provide an afternoon snack. Girls should come dressed comfortably enough to move & groove, play outside, and risk a paint splatter here and there.
My daughter is coming to camp without anyone else she knows. She is shy and afraid of meeting new people. What will it be like for her?
The focus of Go Girls! is to teach and reinforce social/emotional skills through theater and expressive arts. Because of this, our main goal is for all kids to feel safe, heard, and respected and to teach them the skills to treat others with that same level of respect. The first couple of days of camp are dedicated to building our community so that everyone feels included. We begin and end each day in “Community Circle” to allow for ongoing connection opportunities. We play theater-inspired games that help girls feel comfortable working/playing with others they don’t know.
My daughter is afraid of performing/she has never done it before. What it will be like for her?
Many girls credit Go Girls! Camp as the first place they fell in love with performing because the environment is such a safe and nurturing space to explore. Plus, Go Girls! Camp is not simply a drama camp. We incorporate visual arts into each day so that girls with a diversity of interests, personalities, and learning styles find their way into the creativity. We never force anyone to perform in the final play if they don’t want to. However, this is rarely a problem. Since the girls make up the plays themselves, they are very invested in them and are usually quite passionate (a.k.a. jumping off the walls) about sharing their final product with a loving audience.
My daughter is very outgoing and has done lots of plays before. Will Go Girls! Camp build her skills?
Certainly. Camp founders Lynn Johnson and Allison Kenny are both professionally-trained actors with many years of experience both performing and teaching theater to people of all ages. They have designed Go Girls! Camps to teach BOTH performing skills AND collaborative skills. Creating and rehearsing a play from scratch in 2 weeks is not an easy feat for any artist, let alone young ones. They will feel the challenge of having to memorize lines very quickly, express emotions through the choices they make on stage, share their loud voices with audiences of 100+ people, and practices like active listening, generosity, and self-discipline it takes to strengthen their acting practice. It is important to say however, that the experience of making a Go Girls! Play is different than rehearsing a traditional play with an existing script. First of all, it is never longer than an hour long. And second, in the creation of the play, we work hard to make sure all girls are included. This means that, although older girls and/or girls with more performing experience may have a few more lines than other girls, no one girl is ever “the star of the show.” To girls with a lot of acting experience, the plays feel a little weird at first. But again, because all the girls are so invested in the making of the plays, they end up loving what they have created together.
My daughter has special needs. Is Go Girls! Camp right for her? How will you support her during camp?
We have a long history and proven track record of supporting children with special needs. When you register for camp, please share any and all information you want us to know about your daughter. At that time, Allison will contact you and set up a time to have a pre-camp discussion to get more details and learn more about what strategies you have that help your daughter succeed in school and other programs. This information is then passed along to the teaching artists in charge of that session.
My daughter is coming to camp with her friend. Can they be put in the same groups?
We can try our best. If they are the same age, they will most likely be in the same Ensemble Group. With Family Groups, we very intentionally work to mix it up so girls can get to know other girls at camp. Please keep in mind that there are only about 40 girls at camp and that there is plenty of free play time, and breaks for lunch, snack, and rest. Go Girls! always have a choice about who they spend these periods of time with.
My daughter isn’t quite 6. Can she still come to camp?
Go Girls! Camp is specifically designed to be developmentally appropriate for girls in elementary school. If your daughter has completed kindergarten and will be turning 6 soon, she is certainly welcome at Go Girls! Camp.
Didn’t you used to be called “Glitter & Razz?” What happened to Glitter & Razz?
Yes, we were founded in 2006 as Glitter & Razz Productions. For 5 years, the Glitter & Razz Dramatic Play Space was located in Rockridge neighborhood in the basement of the College Avenue Presbyterian Church. In that space, we offered a number of camps, classes, and birthday parties for girls and boys ages 4-11 in the summer and afterschool.
In September 2012, we decided to change the focus of our work to helping girls take center stage. We moved out of the space, we discontinued our programming for boys and younger kids. We stopped doing birthday parties. Glitter & Razz Productions was then focused on its main product, Go Girls! Camp.
Then, in May 2016, we changed the name of our business to Spotlight:Girls to better reflect the vision and focus of our work.
Are you a non-profit organization?
No. Spotlight: Girls a benefit corporation committed to using business as a tool for community-building and world-changing. We are always learning about new and innovative ways that businesses are involved in making real change happen and we partner with schools, other businesses, and non-profits in the work of making this a happier and healthier world. Co-founders Lynn and Allison specifically chose to become a for-profit in order to elevate the value of the work of professional teaching artists in our society.
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