After a bone-chilling start in Massachusetts and Ohio, we made our way south to Florida. We’ve been touring here since the end of January and it’s been great. As I write this, New England is getting slammed with one of the worst snow storms in almost 40 years.
PANAMA CITY, FL
I started the tour in Panama City, FL working with Jennifer Jones and the Marina Bay Civic Center/Bay Arts Alliance. I spent a full week working with Jennifer including several performances, including one for a group of students and their teachers. Jennifer sent along some of the thank you notes she received as well as some drawings the kids made. This is one by a 1st grader who is attempting to draw the “Spikes Of Doom” with his teacher in the prop.
Some of the highlights for me include working with some amazing students at the Margaret K. Lewis School. This is an education institution for children with developmental and cognitive delays too profound for mainstream classrooms. Chase, Eli, and I spent an hour doing a little show for the entire school and then working with a few of the students to teach them some magic tricks. This is the mission of the Hocus Focus Project and we all had a great time!
After a morning at the MKL School, we spent the afternoon working at The Pyramid Center. There are several locations of this organization throughout Florida serving more than 700 adults with disabilities. It was another success adventure and, afterwards, I had the chance to talk with Barry, the director of this service location. He is preparing some of his clients for a big magic show that will happen in July 2013. I’m hoping I can get back here for that!
The following day, I was back at the Marina Civic Center doing a workshop for about 40 homeschool students and their parents. These opportunities allow me to clearly show the functional and academic benefits of learning magic for all students – those with or without disabilities.
We ended the week with a public performance at the Marina Civic Center. The audience was energetic and enthusiastic – a great way to wrap up Panama City.
A short three hour drive from Panama City brought us into Madison, FL. I was here in 2008 and had a great time working with Kim.
The show was on a Saturday night and we were SOLD OUT – only their second sold out performance in a very long time. The audience was packed into the Van Priest Auditorium and ready to be amazed – about 650-700 folks.
This time she expanded our stay to include a Healing of Magic workshop for area therapists and those studying to become therapists and nurses. We had a FULL HOUSE of almost 200 participants – too big to capture in one picture!
I’m always amazed at how quickly a 3-hour workshop goes…and this one went by so fast! Students were engaged, learning, and participating in all of the activities including a few of them who “performed” for the rest of the group. The most important aspect of this workshop is the task analysis of each trick so participants have a working knowledge of how to use them in their practice.
After our weekend in Madison, we were heading even further south to Fort Lauderdale. I’ve worked here several times over the past few years. This time they opted to include some educational outreach programs as well – including workshops for Therapists, Educators, and Care-givers of individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, and mental health concerns.
On the first day, I worked primarily with Occupational and Physical Therapists but also had several Behavioral Health professionals attend the 3-hour workshop. We focused on how to integrate simple magic tricks into other treatment techniques to help motivate and engage clients. Using magic can help clients improve processing skills, dexterity, coordination, coping techniques, frustration tolerance, impulsivity control, emotional regulation, social skills, and build their self-confidence. In the afternoon, we stopped off at the Ann Stork School to do a little show and teach the clients a few tricks.
On Saturday morning, I had one more workshop at the Broward Center – this one for families and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum. After the workshop, we stopped back by the hotel, picked up the rest of the team, and made our way over to the Parker Playhouse to get loaded in and start the set up day.
This would be our fourth time to perform on the stage of the Parker Playhouse. We love working with Tate and his guys…it really is like working with old friends. They take such great care of us. And the audience never disappoints us – and last night was no exception!! Amazingly responsive audience – thank you Fort Lauderdale!