Lynn Watkins has been volunteering with HCA and HCA Dance Theatre for a few years now, with an admirable dedication to helping the Hamilton arts community. If you’ve attended Dusk Dances or HCA Concert Series lately, you’ve probably seen her friendly face as a production volunteer or usher! In recognition of her work, we’ve asked Lynn to reflect on her experiences here, and we’d like to publicly thank her for helping to facilitate our community programming since 2015. 

It was two years after I graduated high school when I finally decided to start volunteering with HCA Dance Theatre‘s Dusk Dances festival (2015). I wanted to be part of HCA but initially didn’t have the courage to volunteer. But when a position came up to be a production volunteer, I jumped at that chance. My Career Counselor Katie told me about the opportunity when I informed her about my love for the school that I had never attended. I was too afraid to open those creative doors alone. Her words of encouragement persuaded me to open the doors and embrace new opportunities. She said, “don’t just dream about the school. Be part of it.” The only regret I have is not connecting with HCA sooner.

My love of music and the arts began was I was three years old. Mom would blast the stereo and I’d be bouncing on the couch. I still do this – sometimes it’s hard for me to stay still. This is part of who I am. Maybe there are dancers in my family somewhere.

Since joining the HCA community, I have worked with Dusk Dances for over three years doing production, and have also helped out as an usher for the HCA Concert Series. Elsewhere, I have been singing with Hamilton Sings! Community Choir for five years. But trust me when I say this – my voice can use some work. I played the piano for a few years but slowed down as I wanted to do other creative things too. I’ve also been a background actor in the movies, and have met some really awesome people there too.

The best experience so far with my volunteering is being able to meet new people and old friends (even running into my old teachers!), and sharing my talents with all of them. I am also more confident in going outside into the real world and seeing that it isn’t all bad. I smile knowing that I helped someone and am trying to make a difference in the world, even if it is a small one.

The most rewarding thing about volunteering is that I can go home at the end of the day and say in positive spirits that I finally belong somewhere. I belong at  HCA and HCADT. I also get to meet like-minded and creative people with which I can share my talents and skills –  and not worry about any of them judging me.

Volunteering in the arts is important because it shows that we care about our community and that we want to dedicate our time in our chosen fields. The arts are important for self-expression and self-acceptance. For anyone unsure of putting themselves out there, I encourage you to try something new. You can be anything you want to be: a teacher, a writer, an artist, dancer, singer, director – anything at all. Live your dreams, shoot for the stars and never give up on what you believe in.  Open your heart to new opportunities and know that anything is possible. It’s up to you to take a step forward. Give it all you’ve got and hope for the best.

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