What It Is
Kids in the Spotlight (KITS) is an evidence-based 5-day performing arts retreat experience that facilitates phenomenal breakthroughs for children, youth, and their families. Created and run by counselor and Developmental Psychology MA Denise Goldbeck, KITS uses the performing arts as a vehicle for awe-inspiring development.
Over the course of five unforgettable days, children and youth of all ages create and perform in a musical production. Along the way, they learn to communicate, respect themselves and others, express themselves confidently, overcome challenges, and heal from difficult experiences. By the end, each child has taken a fun, inspiring, and transformative journey.
“My two children have been going KITS every summer for 9 years and have been provided with opportunities to learn communication skills, to learn to take risks and to learn to engage in a meaningful and collaborative process with children and youth… This program offers such a rich experience for young participants, all the way to youth leaders, and it is unparalleled in our community.”
“Maddy was 8 years old when we started attending KITS. They say it “takes a village to raise a child” and KITS was part of our village. Maddy felt fully accepted for who she was and that is not always the norm in society. Her Dad and I are so grateful that she has had this safe place to learn and grow and now give back! KITS helped me to be a better parent… knowing when to hold on and when to let go and to let go gracefully as she grew up. I met parents who shared the same feelings and thoughts and sharing these made the journey more special and not as scary or alone! The week at Haven also allowed me to recharge and that was priceless.
Thank you Denise for all you have done over the years to help these children become well-rounded loving adults. KITS prepares them for the outside world in a loving, supportive environment. IMMEASURABLE.”
Mary Ann Marchildon
“As a family, we have been attending the Kids in the Spotlight program for the past 5 years. The program has helped our daughter to develop a level of confidence in an environment of recognition and acceptance, and offers ongoing opportunities for her growth. Denise Goldbeck offers her knowledge and experience of child and adolescent development and has intentionally woven this into the program – for the children as well as the teen leaders… It is very meaningful to me that my daughter is now able to have her own experience at this very special place.”
“As a grandparent I am so keen to provide opportunities that foster independence, creativity, compassion, friendships of all ages, confidence, all in an environment of healthy living and relationships to my granddaughters that I feel privileged to be a part of the KITS adventure… all that happens in our 5 day sojourn is a wonder. The memories will last a lifetime. “
“I was first introduced to KITS as a participant along with my 3 siblings, 28 years ago. We attended for many years and it was ALWAYS the highlight of our summer and something we looked forward to all year.
My best friend, who I met at KITS 28 years ago, and I now bring our 2 young kids to KITS (along with our moms and my sister and her daughter!), and again this is a highlight that we all look forward to each year! I am always amazed and grateful to see the strong friendships our kids form with the other participants and the very talented interns and I love witnessing the remarkable areas of growth they go through within those 5 days. KITS is now a legacy tradition for our families that I feel very honoured to be a part of.”
How It Works
KITS is hosted at venues across the world, with 7 programs held each year at the Haven Institute on Gabriola Island, B.C.
Parents or guardians attend the opening session on the first evening of the program, as well as the performance on the last evening (the program ends at noon the following day). Parents or guardians care for their children outside of session times.
Older children have evening sessions; younger children generally do not. For programs on Gabriola Island, children stay at The Haven with a parent or guardian.
Activities that Build Confidence & Communication
The group creates a child-led culture through playing games and creating the show. Children are cast according to which roles will benefit them the most. You leaders support the performers, helping them to develop self-confidence and social skills. Fun is had by all!
KITS Kids Gain:
• Increased confidence
• Increased poise
• Greater social understanding
• Increased social interaction skills
• Leadership ability
• Enhanced family relationships
• Improved academic performance
• Increased ability to hold attention
• Sense of belonging
• Understanding of one’s own development
• Ability to participate in small and large groups
LAUNCH: Taking the Next Step
LAUNCH is a leadership program for youth, aged 13 to twenty-something, who help facilitate the KITS program.
FITS: For the Whole Family
Families in the Spotlight is a program to help whole families build stronger relationships, a better understanding of their family purpose and wonderful memories.
Location & Schedule
Denise Goldbeck has been leading Kids in the Spotlight at the Haven since 1987. The Haven Institute is an accredited educational training center that offers courses in personal and professional development, focusing on communication, relationships, and self-understanding.
Families may rent a cabin at the resort for the five days while the program runs. Various other services are offered to guests, such as a pool and gymnasium. Please visit www.haven.ca for more information.
The program takes place in the Phoenix Auditorium, a spacious facility perfect for energetic and theatrical nature of the program.
KITS is held at the Haven in March, July and August each year, as well as at different times at different venues across the world. Please stay in touch to learn when new venues and times may be available.
KITS Spring Break – March 19-24
July 10 – 15, 2023
July 17 – 22, 2023
July 24 – 29, 2023
August 6 – 11, 2023
August 13-18, 2023
For LAUNCH: Youth Leadership (July 4-9 2023), head over to this page.
Looking to Register or Ask a Question about KITS? Contact us!
Want to bring KITS to your community?
When counselor and Developmental Psychology MA Denise Goldbeck created KITS, she wanted to use the performing arts as a vehicle for awe-inspiring child and youth development. And 34 years and 4,500 programme graduates later, the evidence-based KITS experience is transforming lives across the planet.
But is it missing from your community?
Join the KITS movement by inviting this programme to your city or town. The KITS “formula”— powerful development, learning, and leadership experiences through the performing arts for mixed age groups of children and youth—works well in many formats. Whether you want the classic KITS 5-day retreat experience or an after-school program, the benefits will still look the same—and they will be awesome!
Help kids and youth in your community to develop confidence, social skills, well-being, and harmonious relationships with family and friends.
How it could work
KITS is about creating community—and that can happen anywhere. The KITS programme is flexible and works well in a number of different formats. Here are only a few approaches we could try:
The classic 5-day approach
If your community has the right kind of facility, we could run the program the way we usually do: as a 5-day retreat for parents and kids. (See above for an overview of how that works.)
A day camp
Is there a church or a community center in your community that could host a day camp? We could get the group together for a weekend, a day, or whatever works.
An after-school program
The KITS experience makes for an amazing after-school program, where kids can have fun, create deeper friendships, and learn about themselves after class is dismissed.
Join Our Community
If you like being the first to know our KITS newsletter will keep you front of mind! Learn of upcoming events & introductory offers!
Ⓒ Kids in the Spotlight