COMMUNITY ARTS CENTER – WILLIAMSPORT, PA

This was our first experience working with Rob and Jeri at the Community Arts Center…and I’m hoping it’s not going to be the last! The venue is spectacular – a beautifully restored 1928 vaudeville theatre.

We were able to spend a couple of days here.  They had worked hard to arrange for some outreach activities.  The project started working with a group of approximately 160 special learners from across the school district.  They came to the Community Arts Center for a small magic performance that included their participation.  Then they learned a few tricks of their own.  Several of them made their way to the stage, performed for their classmates, and experienced the cheers and applause of a job-well-done.  There is no way to put into words the “magic” that happens when these kids perform!

In the afternoon, several teachers from around the district took time after school to attend a workshop on the Hocus Focus project.  This is an experiential workshop that demonstrates how to integrate magic into classroom instruction AND align these activities to National and Common Core State Standards of Learning.

The next morning, Jeri had arranged for a visit to the Children’s Development Center.  This organization is committed to helping families understand how to encourage their child with behavioral and psychological needs.  I had the privilege of working with the therapy staff, teaching them how to integrate magic tricks into their sessions with the remarkable kids.  However, the real fun started when I got to work with the kids!  Elizabeth Dixon is the OT Department Supervisor and coordinated the workshop and time with the kids.  She gave me permission to share these thoughts:

Kevin Spencer visited the Children’s Development Center on October21st, 2011. He spent over an hour teaching our staff of occupational and physical therapists about different magic techniques that can be incorporated into therapy.  With this, he explained various uses for the tricks in all types of populations (physically disabled/ Autism/ various syndromes).  Kevin was able to relate his tricks to occupational performance and key areas that are addressed in therapy (visual motor/ coordination/strength/ motor planning, etc.).  He then worked with several of our clients.  He and his staff were engaging and able to transition his tricks to the children well.  One parent commented to me that she has not seen her son this focused in a long time (child is diagnosed with Autism).  Kevin was a knowledgeable communicator to this staff and to our clients.  We are very grateful for his visit.

The final residency event was held at Susquehanna Health as a “brown bag” in-service presentation during lunch.  Almost 50 therapists brought their lunch into the therapy gym and participated in the workshop.  After lunch, I was able to work with several of the clients – brave and courageous people with a lot of hard work ahead of them.

We topped off the two days with a final performance in the beautiful Community Arts Center.  It’s always a blast to perform for a large, enthusiastic audience ready to have a good time – and these guys were ready to have a great time!

Thank you Williamsport for a memorable experience in your community.  We do hope we get to come back sometime soon!

TRAVELING HOME

We left Williamsport to head to our home in Virginia.  This would be our last chance to spend any significant time there before leaving on a 7 week tour (including 4 weeks in Europe).  You might remember that last weekend we had one of our new tires blow out on us.  Well, the same thing happened again.  As we were driving home, I heard an explosion under the truck as the other rear tire lost its tread.  Thankfully, Cindy was able to find a mobile service to come and get us back on the road.  We made it home around 11:30pm – still, there’s no place like home.

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