By: The District

“People fear change.”

“There is nothing permanent except change.

 

On the edge of the District sits locally owned craft apparel and printing company 1890. It’s a Casper favorite and has made quite a name for itself since it was started. For the last nearly 3 years, 1890 Inc. has been building a production based platform for custom screen printing, custom embroidery, and design, as well as the growth of a separate Wyoming, themed lifestyle apparel brand called 1890 Craft Apparel.  The company made a name for itself through local and national attention as the provider of official products for the 2017 eclipse.  Since that time, 1890 has expanded rapidly and has created an opportunity for its current owner to make an exit through the sale of the business.   Casper should expect there will be a name change to Bighorn Design Studio, but 1890 Craft Apparel will live on as an asset of the new company.

 

We reached out to the owners of Big Horn Design Studio, WyoMade, and Metro Coffee to see what all this is going to mean for us here in The District, in Casper, and the state. Here is what they said.

 

How are the investors/owners of Metro Coffee and WyoMade involved in this deal?
Bighorn Design Studio and Metro Coffee/WyoMade have been partnering on and producing products in partnership for a little over a year.  Partners of each company were foes from their early days battling on the hardwood during Wyoming high school athletics and then became friends on the University of Wyoming campus back in the late 1990’s.  Sean Peverley and PJ Treide have remained friends and Sean presented the opportunity to PJ after Sean and Scott Cotton met about a potential sale of 1890.  In a strategic partnership among Bighorn Design Studio and the owners of WyoMade/Metro Coffee, and Bison Union Company, a deal was finalized under the umbrella of Bighorn Design Studio.

 

Is 1890 still moving into the new building, or staying in Skelly?
Bighorn Design Studio will be maintaining the current location of the Skelly Garage until at least the spring.  By that time, they project that the production of local and surrounding area product will force them out of the building.  The space is already producing at capacity, with production also being performed at an additional office location next to A-1 Tire.  It is no longer an ideal situation for large-scale production work and they foresee a move by the spring of 2019.  Bighorn Design Studio leadership has met with John Huff to begin talks about a potential move to the new space, but much of it will depend on timelines, cost, and build-out of the new building.  The group toured it last week with John Huff and Scott Cotton and they commented that it is an amazing space, but also wanted to make sure it made sense for long-term growth.  In five separate moves in Sheridan, Bighorn Design Studio has grown from a 10 foot by 15-foot metal storage space in March of 2015 to a 20,000 square foot space in Sheridan.  They also have just completed a move to their third location in Cody in one year.  With this experience, they are very mindful about getting the first move in Casper, right.

 

Can I still get 1890 gear and will there be more designs?
Currently, 1890 gear is the only retail-based product being offered at the current location.  That will change in the week prior to Thanksgiving when Bighorn Design will begin offering retail based products from Surf Wyoming, Go Slo, Cirque, CC Beanie, Bison Union, Go Fast Don’t Die, Red Bison Studio, and much more.  Limited edition products and colors will also be offered for the Casper market for several of the brands.  1890 Craft Apparel will still be a staple of the new retail space, but will have less exposure as a highlighted product.

 

How will Bighorn Design Studio improve upon 1890?
Bighorn Design Studio will bring a lot of savvy and a little bit of swagger to 1890 that will improve upon several areas of the current business.  Bighorn Design Studio has gone from five employees to forty in the last three years as it has exponentially grown its operations to include retail and production facilities in Sheridan, Cody, Powell and now Casper.  The Company has been ranked one of the Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies in Wyoming each of the last three years by the Wyoming Business Journal and recently has qualified to become an Inc. 5000 company (to be awarded in 2019).  The company has built a reputation for fast turnaround times, low prices, and for high-quality work.  They currently do production and fulfill orders to every state in the US and to nine other countries.  Bighorn Design Studio makes products for and owns Surf Wyoming, and produces products for the likes of Black Rifle Coffee, King Ropes, Go Slo, Black Tooth Brewing Company, Bison Union, and Go Fast Don’t Die.  Local customers will immediately see improvements in quality, and at a lower cost based on volume pricing and reduced fees.  Bighorn Design Studio will be making significant investments in new equipment, employee training and benefits, and within the Casper community.

 

Go Back Home

By: Nick Perkins

“Be love; so much love that, when others are with you, they are love.”
– Abraham Washington

“Don’t dream it; be it.”
– Rocky Horror Picture Show

 

It was, perhaps, the hardest thing she’s ever had to do, but she knew she couldn’t keep it to herself any longer. They had to know. That was easier said than done, however. She practiced in the mirror a dozen times, trying to find the best words to use when she spoke to her parents. Nothing sounded right, though. None of the words she thought of could properly convey the longing and the passion in her heart. She always knew this was who she was, but vocalizing that, especially to her parents, filled her with an unbearable amount of stress and anxiety. But she knew who she was, and it was time that her parents did too.

She got dressed, got in her car and sat behind the wheel. She looked at herself in her rearview mirror and smiled. This was a long time coming. She’s experimented in the past, but she knew this was something that was about to consume her entire life- and she wanted to share it with her parents. It would be a difficult discussion, but she hoped her parents would understand; that they would accept her and love her unconditionally.

She pulled up to her childhood home, the one with so many happy memories, and walked up to the front door. She took a deep breath and rang the doorbell.

The District is full of incredible musicians, artists and entrepreneurs that dream of expressing themselves and having an audience to do so in front of. The District has painters and sketchers and singers and chefs and baristas and hoola-hoopers and everything in between. The District is a place, located in the heart of Casper, WY that allows artists to be who they are and do what they want to do. It is a safe place that houses an incredible amount of talented individuals.

Betsy Bower is one of those people. A Casper native, Bower has lived in various locations throughout the years, yet she still continues to find herself coming back home to Wyoming. This is where she lives, it’s where her family lives. It’s also where she discovered her talents as an artist and a musician.

“I feel like it’s in my genes,” Bower said of her inclination towards art. “My grandpa made me an easel for Christmas when I was, like, 5 or something like that. I gravitated towards it, naturally, and I felt like I was good at it.”

As a kid, Bower found herself immersed in a variety of “non-girly” hobbies. While she admitted to having tea parties as a kid, she was a self-admitted tomboy.

“I wasn’t really the princess type,” she stated.

Bower never wanted to be a princess. Instead, she wanted to create She also began to develop musical skills; skills that continue to serve her to this day (she plays drums and occasionally bass guitar for various bands around town, including IndiSoul). It wouldn’t be long, however, before she found her way back to art.

“I didn’t realize that I wanted more to do with art until, like, when I got a little bit older,” Bower stated. “I took classes from Mr. Slafter. He was really interesting because he didn’t really care about the students’ art. He was kind of, not really mean but just, like, honest. It gave us more freedom because you weren’t just trying to impress the teacher. He actually let us explore any type of art form we wanted to, so I explored things I hadn’t yet.”

That exploration led Bower down a multitude of roads, including painting, drawing, charcoals, intaglio and more. None of those avenues felt exactly right, however. She wanted to do something different, something more. When she was 12 years old, she found exactly what it was that she was looking for. It was…a natural transition…to say the least, but one that was still somewhat surprising.

Betsy Bower wanted to be a welder. She wanted to turn metal into art. And she knew it the moment she cut her first piece.

“My dad is where I learned to weld from,” she said. “I made my first sculpture when I was 12. It was a flower sculpture. I got hooked.”

It was an unusual avenue to take, but it’s what felt right.

Everybody draws and everybody paints,” she stated. “There are so many trendy things and I wanted to do something that was original and different.”  

Welding was certainly both of those things. One does not see many welders at art galas. But Bower wanted to combine two of her passions into one thing, and that’s exactly what she did.

It wasn’t easy, though. First starting out as an artist never is, at least according to Bower.

“If anybody wants to be an artist, they have to get through the phase of just being kind of shitty at it,” Bower laughed. “Do it and keep doing it. Failure leads to success. Period.”

It took a while, but Bower has found success as an artist. Like any artist starting out, especially in a community like Casper, there was a fair amount of failure. But talent rises, and that’s exactly what she did. Eventually, Bower would host her first metal-works show at one of The District’s best coffee shops.

“When I did decide to do metal work, my sister told me ‘You’d be good at it if you just did it, so I don’t see why you just don’t do it,’ and that’s when I had my first art show at Metro.”

She did it. And she hasn’t looked back since.

Betsy has always been her own person, always marched to the beat of her own drum. This has presented itself in her art, in her music and in her relationships.

As a gay woman in a mostly-conservative state, Bower has encountered her fair share of ignorance and resistance. This was more prevalent when she was younger and just beginning to forge her path as both an artist and as a member of the LGBT-Q community. Coming from a religious background did not make the idea of “coming out” an easy one, but Bower knew that if she wanted to achieve true bliss, she needed to stay true to herself.

“I came out to my friends and my siblings first,” Bower confessed. “I lived in San Francisco and Seattle for a little bit and I was around a community where you didn’t have to ask or say it. It didn’t matter. Coming back [to Casper] was kind of a reverse culture shock. I felt like I had to fit in a box again and it was really depressing for a few years until I started navigating more boldly.”

One of the hardest aspects of her journey was the reaction from her parents.

“I didn’t know how to have peaceful conversations with my parents about subjects that were hard to talk about,” she admitted. “So I just didn’t. With my dad especially; sometimes, it’s hard to feel like I’m being heard because he’s such a visual person.”

Bower continued, saying that she “feel[s] like they accept me but it’s just an awkward scenario, because it’s not something they’ve been exposed to long enough and in a deep enough way, to fully understand.”

Bower has never doubted the love from her parents, however, and it was actually her mom and dad that encouraged her to pursue a career as an artist.

“There was not necessarily a push,” she said, “but I think they saw it as my obvious avenue. I didn’t. I wanted to join the circus. I wanted to be a healer or go on a path of music.”

But when Betsy told her parents that she was interested in art, they were the ones that ultimately confirmed her decision.

“I was ready to hear it finally, because if my parents weren’t the ones telling me to do it, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to [be an artist]. They were waiting for it.”

Bower has undoubtedly seen a parallel between her journey as an artist and as a gay woman in a conservative town. Both require a lot of patience, a lot of understanding and, most importantly, a lot of love. They also require a lot of work but, in the end, the beauty of staying true to oneself, as an artist, as a gay person, as a human being in general, is more than worth the effort.

“For a while I resisted it because I thought that being straight would be an easier lifestyle; like nobody would be questioning what I’m doing with myself and my life,” Bower said. “It would have definitely been easier but it wouldn’t have been following my heart.”

Bower has spent her entire life following her heart. That journey has led her to a number of adventures and experiences. Most recently, Bower spent a week at Burning Man, an annual event in Northwest Nevada that is more of a temporary city/community than a festival.

“Someone said Burning Man is like an adult summer camp,” Bower said. “It’s where science meets art, meets love, and becomes a sort of a social evolution. It’s a boisterous inner child party that people have to go to themselves to understand. [It’s a place] where people can wear costumes, spin poi, burn things, and ride decorated bicycles around a giant neon city with crazy art cars. Every citizen must live by a set of 10 principles. It’s hard to sum up in words.”

Burning Man is an experience she has dreamed of sharing with her hometown, because she knows how important community is and how much people benefit from being near each other.

“I’ve wanted the Casper Pride [Festival] to feel like that; to feel this kind of open-hearted, fun, ‘you don’t know what to expect but it’s exciting’ kind of thing, because there’s fire dancing or there are lights or there’s hoola hoopers or cool DJ’s. There’s things that you didn’t necessarily expect, but then there’s this little element of magic that comes into it because it’s just these people smiling and being together.

That, more than anything, is what Betsy Bower stands for. It’s what she believes is most important- smiling, being together and falling in love, over and over again, with yourself.

“Finding your own path, when you have to carve it out yourself, can be a lot of work,” Bower stated. “Any kind of dream that anybody has is like- if you don’t put in the work, if you only dream it, you’re never going to get there. You have to just stick with it and persevere and be patient with yourself. When you make mistakes or come up against failure, you just have to accept it as part of the learning process and keep going.”  

That is something she has applied to her life and her work and she is better for it. When she has come up against obstacles, and there are always obstacles, she has fought through them. She has also learned to appreciate the hardships that come with who she is and what she does. She has had to come to certain experiences with the patience one might display when talking with a child. She has continually persevered, though. And she has never stopped believing in herself.

“You can talk yourself out of anything,” she said. “If you want to do something worth doing, talk yourself into it. Tell yourself it’s gonna be worth the work or it’s gonna be worth coming out. Do it slowly. Take it step-by-step. If you want to come out, take a small step. If you want to be an artist, take a small step. Stop telling yourself you’re not any good. Stop giving yourself the excuse and just do the next step. Get a canvas and grab some paints and suck at it for a while.”   

Her journey, as an artist and as a human being, has not been easy. It’s been a beautiful mess, quite frankly. But it made her into the incredible, vibrant, kind, caring person that she is today, and that is something she wouldn’t trade for all the metal in the world.

She took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and rang the doorbell. Her mother answered and hugs were exchanged. She followed her mom into the family room, past the piano that so many lessons were given on. She hugged her dad and sat them both down. She has been fighting with this decision for a long time, but she has always, deep in her heart, known who she was. Now, it was time that her parents knew.

“Mom, dad; I have something to tell you,” she said.

“I want to be an artist.”

Go Back Home

By: Nick Perkins

Maria Montessori didn’t intend to change the world. Her goals, while lofty, were not intended to shape an entire educational landscape. She never wanted to be featured on Italian bank notes or have schools or curriculums named after her. When Montessori graduated from Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci in 1890, at the age of 20, she just wanted to help people, no matter the cost.

The cost, she would soon find out, was great. Because of the cultural norms of the time, women were not expected, nor encouraged, to pursue fields that were deemed “inappropriate” for women. Unfortunately for Montessori, pursuing a degree in medicine was one of those “inappropriate” fields.

She didn’t care.

Montessori enrolled in the University of Rome, despite objections from Guido Baccelli, the professor of clinical medicine at the school. She was met with anger and judgment and sneers from her classmates and professors, all of them males. She was forced to study cadavers alone, after hours, because studying a male body in the presence of other males during regular class times was, again, “inappropriate.”

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She graduated, with honors, in 1896 as a doctor of medicine. Her thesis was published in the medical journal Policlinico and she started a private practice in 1897.

Through it all, though, she never intended to be the face of an entirely new way of teaching. That’s exactly what she became, though.

Montessori was always interested in the way children thought, felt and acted. It was this interest that led to her working with mentally disabled children for a time, before focusing her studies on children with learning disabilities. Her background in medicine and science allowed her to study children with an objective, scientific method. Through this method, she realized a few key behaviors in children.

She noticed that the children she was studying in a classroom experienced episodes of deep attention and concentration. She also noticed that they responded well to multiple repetitions of activity and had a vast sensitivity to order in the environment.

Based on these observations, Montessori developed a curriculum and a number of practices that would highlight the interests, both educationally and personally, of children. She had no idea that, in the 100 years since her observations, more than 7,000 schools worldwide would adopt her philosophy and implement her ideas. She also couldn’t have known that these schools would take their namesake from her, calling themselves Montessori Schools. She most assuredly didn’t know that, right in the heart of The District, one of her schools would be building a brighter future for the children of Casper, Wyoming.

Don’t call them teachers, call them guides. That is what Debbi Savini said when asked what her title was at the Montessori School of Casper.

“We think of our job as being a connection between the materials and the child in the classroom, so we’re guiding them,” she said.

Savini has been guiding students at the school since 1982, just 7 years after the school first opened. There was an idea, even back in the 70’s, that maybe schools can offer more than just education about math, science, and English. Maybe part of the responsibility of a school could be and should be, teaching character and independence as well.

“Dr. Montessori put together an educational system that helped children to become independent thinkers and learners,” Savini said. “People recognized that she had something great going and wanted to continue with that. People in Casper got ahold of that system and said ‘wow, that’s what we want.’”

That’s exactly what they got and for the past 43 years, The Montessori School of Casper has been developing students to be free-thinking, independent, kind, caring and intelligent members of the community.

“The program really focuses on independence; teaching the child to be independent and responsible for their own choices in the classroom,” stated Dawn Kropatsch, the Montessori School Administrator.

Kropatsch was not always the school’s administrator, however. When she first became involved with Montessori of Casper, she was just a mom.

Both of my daughters went to school here, and they thrived here,” she said. “This was a great experience for both of them.”

It’s a great experience for any child that is an independent, free thinker. They have to be independent because, in a classroom of 28 students or more, sometimes independence is necessary.

“We prefer it that way, because that means that we’re not available to the children all the time,” Savini admitted. “They have to go to their friends if they need help or they have to figure it out themselves, which is really nice for them because what it says to them is ‘I’m capable. I can figure this out. Or someone just like me can figure it out so I can too.’”

It’s a novel concept, really. It’s one that more schools have started to adapt, but Montessori was one of the first people to realize that just because children are small, they are not less-than anything. They have their own thoughts and ideas and, if encouraged to explore and develop those ideas, they will constantly surprise.

“At this age, between 0-6, they’re laying a foundation for the rest of their lives and the things that they learn at this age, they will continue for the rest of their lives,” Savini said. “If they can go off and get themselves dressed, they won’t have to rely on somebody else. If they can bake bread at this age, they don’t rely on somebody else to do it. If they go off and read a book at this age, then they’re always going to look for a book.”

Even more than teaching children how to get dressed on their own and bake their own bread, the Montessori School of Casper is teaching children how to interact with each other, which is something that any of us struggle with at a time, no matter the age.

When asked what the biggest reason for her wanting to work with children at Montessori, Savini said “to be honest with you, when I first got into Montessori, the thing that appealed to me was [her] idea of cosmic education. She had a view that human beings if they’re given the opportunity to help out their fellow man now, they’ll do it forever.”

And shouldn’t that be the point of school? Many students will not remember math equations or specific dates or homophones, but if they’re learning how to solve life issues by themselves right now, they’ll know how to do it forever. If they are developing a kindness in their hearts while helping a friend tie their shoes right now, they’ll keep that kindness for the rest of their lives. Montessori valued the importance of a good education, she had one of the best, in fact. But she knew, even in the 1800’s, that it was the character and the integrity of a person that mattered most and she worked tirelessly and thanklessly to give children an opportunity to develop those attributes at an early age.   

Now, more than 100 years later, that idea is truer than ever. We live in a world of selfishness and entitlement, but it is the younger generation that is starting to rise up and fight against those things; not with brute force or sharpened swords, but with the kindness and tenderness that Dr. Montessori exemplified all those years ago.

The Montessori School of Casper is a big part of that revolution, but it’s not the only part. Partnerships between the school and parents, as well as the school and the rest of the community, are vital to the process of development for our kids.

“It’s not just a form of education; it’s an attitude toward life,” Savini said. “It’s something that carries over into the homes, so we help parents find ways for their kids to be independent at home, as well. Parents have found that it’s easier in the long run if they let [their kids] be independent and work alongside them, instead of doing things for them.”

It’s a learning process for all involved, including the students, parents, and guides. It’s also a learning process for the community upon which the school is located. The community, in large part, has been an enormous support system for the school. There are, as the guides put it to students, “areas for growth,” however.

“It’s nice to be centrally located, however, it’s been challenging the last year or two because there have been some businesses around us that…maybe their clientele is…different than ours,” Kropatsch stated.

Because of the many business located in The District, sometimes the Montessori School finds itself as the harbinger of collateral damage, so to speak.

“We find our parking lot filled with broken glass and cigarette butts,” Savini admitted. “People throw their beer cans in our playground. It’s a lesson for the kids.”

Anything can be a lesson for the kids, but the students and staff at Montessori would certainly appreciate a little bit more respect for their environment, which is not a difficult request. Besides those small issues, though, the location of Montessori has proven to yield a lot of really positive results.

“We can walk to art galleries, we can walk to the library- there are lots of things we can do,” Savini said. “All of those kinds of things are close to us.”

Montessori offers opportunities for students that not all schools have. It is privately funded and relies on tuition and various fundraisers to keep its doors open. Finances, especially these days, are hard to manage. The future is hard to plan for, but it’s not just our future we need to focus on, which is why Montessori is such a vital part of the community. It is not for everyone, however. Because of this, parents are encouraged to call Dawn and schedule a time to come in and observe how things are done. This gives parents the opportunity to decide if their child would be a good fit for the school, and if the school would be a good fit for the child. Nobody, especially Savini and Kropatsch, want finances to be the deciding factor, so Montessori does offer various generous scholarships to various candidates.

The children of the Montessori School of Casper are not spending hours upon hours studying in a dark classroom. They are building gardens and going to art galleries; they are doing laundry and baking bread. They’re preparing themselves for the future, really. More importantly, they’re learning how to take care of themselves, of each other and of the world around them.

Maria Montessori was told no. She was told that she wasn’t good enough or smart enough. She was told that because of her gender, she could not pursue her dreams. She was doubted and mocked and ridiculed and harassed. Nevertheless, she persisted. In doing so, she changed the way education is taught and she changed the way children are molded. She gave the children of this world an opportunity to focus on kindness, on independence and on self-confidence. Dr. Montessori did a lot of things for a lot of people in her lifetime. She changed the lives of thousands. She introduced a way of teaching that prepares students for a future far beyond that of the next grade or the next school. She gave the children of Casper, Wyoming an opportunity to learn a little differently.

She just helped, that’s all, which is all she ever wanted to do.   

Go Back Home

By: Nick Perkins

Once upon a time, as the story goes, there was a girl with a dream.

For Faith Conaway, owner and operator of Dream Upon A Princess, owning her own business wasn’t a dream she had…until it actually happened. What Faith dreamt about, even as a little girl, was performing and entertaining people. Now, as a 27-year-old small business owner, she gets to do just that.

Dream Upon A Princess is a multi-faceted entertainment company that specializes in bringing princesses, superheroes, pirates and more to life for birthday parties and special events.

Faith wasn’t always the driving force behind this Disney-inspired performance troupe, however. At first, she was just following her dream of being a performer.

“I was actually accepted to be a performer for the Disney World College program, but I turned it down because I wanted a degree in something besides business, which is really the only degree they offered,” Faith said.

Instead of joining the Disney family, Faith moved to Duluth Minnesota for school. It was there that she met a kindred spirit who had started her own version of Dream Upon A Princess, though she wasn’t calling it that. Faith was one of her first performers and she fell in love with the entire process but after only performing for 2 parties, she moved back home to Casper Wyoming. She started to work as a fitness instructor and a nanny, amongst other things, but her time in Duluth stayed in the back of her mind. She just couldn’t let it go.

Finally, after about 6 months, she asked her friend in Duluth if she could bring her idea to Casper. The friend said yes, but Faith was still unsure if this was something she really wanted to pursue

“I wait and I think about things before I decide because once I decide something, I put 100 percent in,” she admitted.

Well, she finally decided that this was a dream worth following and just like that, the genie was out of the bottle.

The first thing she needed, she decided, was a name. She did an extensive amount of research and weighed many different options before finally settling on Dream Upon A Princess. In regards to the meaning behind the name, Faith said she decided on that one because “we want to fulfill dreams. We want to make dreams come to life. We want to show that any girl can go out there and achieve her dreams if she fights for it.”

Before she could do any of that, however, she needed to turn a “me” into a “we.” To do that, she enlisted the help of friends and family, as well as the Kelly Walsh High School music and drama departments. After an extensive recruitment and audition process, Faith believed she had the team she needed to take Casper to the 2nd star from the right and straight on ‘til morning.

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It’s a Saturday morning and the scene is chaotic. There are wigs being passed around and songs are being sung while the laughter of a multitude of girls resonates in the air. The girls of Dream Upon A Princess have a birthday party to attend in an hour and, as a wise old rabbit once said, they’re late for a very important date.

Faith goes from girl to girl, making sure hair and makeup and hearts are prepared. She shares laughter and smiles with these girls, her girls and she knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that starting this company was the best decision of her life.

What families see at a birthday party that they’ve hired Dream Upon A Princess to perform at is a slick, professional presentation that is designed to leave children with a lasting memory. What they don’t see is all of the work that goes on behind the scenes.

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Once Faith decided hers was a dream worth pursuing, and once she gathered her team, that’s when the real work started. The list of things that Faith needed to do in order to guarantee Dream Upon A Princess was a success would put the list of chores Cinderella had to do while everybody else was at the ball to shame. She had to register her business as an LLC, she had to purchase costumes, she had to come up with the curriculum and activities, she had to do some guerilla marketing, develop a Facebook page, study study study, take a deep breath, train her actors and more. Wishes upon stars work sometimes, but you still have to work to make your dreams come true and that’s exactly what Faith and her group of dreamers did and, surprisingly, there were very few kinks to work out.

As with any group of actors, there are sure to be egos the size of the whale that swallowed Pinocchio. With Faith’s actors, however, there are very few problems. Most everybody involved are there because they believe in what Faith is doing; they believe that a little bit of light in the world can change somebody’s life and they believe that, once in a while, dreams are allowed to come true.

In fact, the only real problems that occur come from the unpredictability of working with children, according to Faith.

“The hardest thing about the job is just being prepared and being in character the whole time,” Faith admitted. “Kids ask you lots of questions and you have to know how to answer them. Sometimes kids say awkward things like ‘how did you feel when your parents died?’ and you have to come up with something on the spot and you have to think of your character’s mindset.”

The ability to deal with questions like that comes from hours of training that Faith puts her actors through. Her group is constantly evolving, as are the activities and events they perform at.

In just the 4 short years that Dream Upon A Princess has existed, they’ve already put on dozens of birthday parties, Halloween carnivals, princess balls, etiquette classes and more. This year, they even provided a brief reprieve for the parents who brought their children to the Wyoming Women’s Expo held at the Casper Events Center. Faith and her crew offered the opportunity for kiddos and parents alike to take part in numerous activities and photo-ops throughout the weekend. All of this is in addition to the multitude of volunteer activities that Dream Upon A Princess takes part in as well.

Community members have undoubtedly seen the Dream Upon A Princess crew around The District. They have participated in numerous events at the David Street Station, The Lyric and more. This is by design, as Faith sees how vital Downtown Casper is becoming to the community.

“I am so impressed by Casper’s community coming together to really revive our downtown area,” she said. “It’s such a welcoming venue for families, and businesses are stepping up and creating events and activities to nurture our community. I love getting to volunteer and being a part of these fun activities!”

Faith’s goals, she stated, are to be a vessel that helps bond this community, even more, to bring a little bit of light into her tiny pocket of the world and to show that life doesn’t have to be as tangled as we make it.

More than anything, though, Faith says her goal is to show all of us that “you can do anything if you put your whole heart and mind into it. I believe that, a hundred percent. Nobody gets things handed to them, but if you work hard and you do everything you can to achieve something, I know you can do it.”

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As her performers gather in the living room of her parents’ house, the house that she grew up in, indeed her first stage, Faith picks up a character’s wig and thinks back on the past two years and what she’s been able to accomplish in such a short time. She’s built a business from the ground up, she’s given dozens of people the opportunity to perform professionally, and she’s given Casper a new entertainment group to book for events. Faith has fulfilled a dream she didn’t even know she had until she had it. But at this moment, standing before her actors, her team, her family, none of that matters because, for the next hour, she gets to live her first dream; the dream she had since she was a little girl. When she puts that wig on she’s no longer Faith Conaway, business owner; she transforms into Rapunzel or Elsa or Cinderella and she’s not thinking about booking her next event or which actors will be available for which party. For the next hour or two, the only goal Faith has is making sure that wishes are granted, dreams are dreamt and memories are made. More than anything, she wants to help a room full of children believe, if only for just a little bit longer, that we can all live happily ever-

Well, you know the rest.

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