Tag Archives: Family Friendly Entertainment in Richmond

Lessons Of Laughter From Our Kids Camp Kids

MSLTeamWe’ve been having a wonderful summer with our Summer Kids Camp programs. All the teachers have been excited by the lessons learned, and the performances created at the end of the week.

Thought we’d share one of the highlights of the camps that made us laugh, or gave us that Aha HA HA feeling.

One day, when Miss Christine was teaching the elementary students, she started the class by sitting on the floor cross legged and gestured with her hands that all were welcome to join the circle. All but one of the kids were playing with Legos®, but one noticed, and joined the teacher. The teacher shared focus with that one student and said that all were welcome to join and she would repeat that statement, between games, until the other students heard her and joined.

See, we teach the students that we are Improv Ninjas, and an Improv Ninja is always listening, always watching. Since only one Improv Ninja joined her, she started playing a game. The child was thrilled with the individual time with the teacher and eager to excel at the game. Once the child, Milind, learned the first step, the teacher added to the game and increased the difficulty. Prior to starting the second step, she stated loudly that all were welcome to join the group when they were ready. Then she asked the student if he understood why she was repeating her statement. The eager student said “yes, so they can join us”. She then asked if he was okay with continuing if they didn’t join the group, and he nodded his head in agreement enthusiastically.

The other children, stopped and watched with child-like wonder as the teacher and student continued to play. The student continued to accept the offers, and thus the teacher continued to increase the difficulty. The others continued to watch, and the teacher continued to repeat that all were welcome to join at their time.

The teacher taught a few different games to the student, and then expressed that he would have to be her assistant when the others finally join since he such an expert at the games. His smile was ear to ear at this offer. Then one by one, the others joined the two.

One inquisitive little girl, Lola, started to join the teacher and student, while another girl said defiantly, “No, stay here and play”. The teacher then firmly stated, that they could continue to play with the Legos® if you wish, but they can not tell other students what to do. Lola joined the group, then another child, and finally the little girl that said “don’t join them”.

As promised, Milind became the assistant, as the teacher re-taught the others the first three games. Everyone enjoyed learning, and the teacher never raised her voice, or insisted that the students join and start class.

An Improv Ninja is always watching, always listening. It’s not just listening with our ears, but observing the non-verbal things being said in class. Soon the others students became Improv Ninjas like Milind. The teacher didn’t have to force the lesson, the teacher allowed the scene, the story to evolve, accepting the others as they were, letting the class come together as a team, by their choice.

Middle School League vs Majors

YoutzfestCollageWhat an amazing show! I’m not sure who actually had more fun, the audience full of Loyal Fans, family and friends, the players, or myself, the Middle School League (MSL) teacher and acting referee for the show.

The kids, the middle school team, brought their A-game! They were ready to play and have fun. After all the players suited up, we warmed up improv style. We got into circle formation and started playing fast paced improv/theatre games that prepare us to be connected and play in the moment. The games are also designed to remind us of the importance of non-verbal skills such as eye contact. Then we end the pre show warm ups with some storytelling games to keep us focused on solid story telling skills which will help us develop solid scene work.

The older players seemed filled with a child-like innocence and joy in playing with their younger counter parts. Their exuberance in accepting the offer to play in the show with the MSL was infectious. Just watching the joy on every ones face made me happy to be involved in this show.

There were some people that thought the show with kids playing against the major league team would be a “kiddie” show, but that was hardly the case. These kids were fabulous! They had game and tons of personality. One of the young players, Robert, learned quickly how to endear the fans and encourage them to vote for his team.

As the ref asked for the fans to vote for the team they thought did a better job in the last round of improv scenes between the MSL team used their secret weapon. Robert, an MSL player, jumped up, looked at the referee and said with wide eyed innocence “Ghee ref, I sure hope some of the fans vote for us!” Then, ever so slowly, Robert turned his head to the fans with a wide smile. The loyal fans went wild, and the major league team threw their clip board, shouting, “We can’t beat that!”

The show continued to up the stakes as each team tried to gain love and respect from the fans for votes. Then in the second half of the show, as the ref asked for the fans to vote again, one of the major league players stepped on the field and asked the same question Robert had earlier. Of course the audience laughed, then little Abby stepped up on the field and said in the most humble and sweet voice of a child “It doesn’t matter if we win. We’re just glad to be here and get to play with you major league players!”At that moment the majors knew they lost the match. There was no amount of talent or bribery that they could use to influence the fans vote.

In the end the MSL team won. It isn’t easy to beat cute. I suspect that is one of the reasons W.C. Fields said “never work with children or animals.” Well Mr. Fields, I suspect you have a point, however, I for one, am eagerly looking forward to the next Middle vs Major League match.