The process of Camp Magic begins way before the children arrive on the first day of a new program. Here’s our secret recipe (at least part of it!)
1. An inspiration
All creative processes begin with an inspiration.
For some, it could be a person you see cartwheeling down the street.
For others, perhaps a conversation with your next door neighbour. Maybe inspiration comes from a walk in the forest, or a thunder storm in the middle of the night.
Inspiration arrives in any moment.
The most important thing is being OPEN to inspiration, and PATIENT. You can never force the creative process. Like most things in life, it’s about learning to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Once you have been inspired, the process is then ignited.
For example, our past theme – The Sombrero of Fun - was actually inspired by a crew member as the group was wrapping up a program over a meal. We were discussing Mexico, and then Mexican music, and for one reason or another sombreros was mentioned... In that moment, a Sombrero appeared in my mind with a circle of stars around it instead of the usual pom poms. That was it. The conversation continued, and the image sat with me for nearly two years. And then once I started to plan the Camp Magic program in 2012, I was suddenly standing at the drafting table drawing a sombrero circled in stars, and it became a sort of hot air sombrero balloon, lifting two children up into an adventure over Central and South America.
I played with that concept for a little while. Eventually it grew into a 6 week holiday adventure! And the drawings were just the beginning.
The crew are an integral part of the process of our work. Without these special collaborations, Camp Magic would not have grown into what it is over these past 20 years. Even if they have worked with us for 5 years or more, the artists and facilitators dig deep with each new theme – searching for ways they can bring something unique to the children.
When we challenge ourselves, we challenge the children. It would be a very different program if we just handed the team a curriculum to follow. Co-creating is a lot more timely for all of us. But it is also so much more worthwhile for everyone.
4. Website changes, brochures
Through altering our website with each Journeys or Unique Magique program, we are able to also freshen up what is on offer to the Camp Magic community. Brochures are prepared, as are fresh marketing campaigns. Each little step a part of the process towards deepening a new theme, giving it a solid start to the work with the children.
We have been very fortunate over the years to have had remarkable, ongoing support from Web Designer Jowey Goh, and Thomas Ling from PICA DIGITAL. Both are an integral part of the Camp Magic process.
Our training weeks are intensive and fun for the crew. Often times they will comment on how it’s like a sort of “retreat” before the program. Although they have to work very hard delving into the theme, memorizing new songs and dances, comedy routines and learning many new skills to pass onto the children.
The training week ensures the crew are on the same page, so that we can be clear on helping the children learn and expand their understanding of the world and themselves.
6. Let the Show Begin!
On the first day of each week, we create two opening performances. One in the morning after drop off (usually out in the playground) and the other an afternoon performance before the kids go home.
7. Camp Community
The Camp Magic community is a very important part of the process. We ensure that the entire group comes together at different times throughout the day. Also, children are banded into smaller sub groups according to age. Here they enjoy a thriving class community that is inclusive and led by facilitators who ensure all members are seen and heard.
8. The Story
Each week is a completely new experience at Camp Magic. Why? Because we change the story!
No two weeks are alike, because the story changes every Monday. Just as we co-create each program with the staff, the camp week is an incredible act of co-production with the children.
Creating and building a performance together is what gives the children such a strong sense of ownership within the program. It is THE ONLY way to give children an opportunity to strengthen their imaginations, and therefore encourage and inspire the resilience we were talking about in the first part of this section (see Our Story).
Each day the story is developed and worked through songs, dances, flow routines, painting, pastels, craft, and craft.
9. Friday Carnivale
After the children have worked hard throughout the week with rehearsals and multiple creative projects, they are rewarded with Friday Carnivale. This always follows the final rehearsal. There are exciting and unique activities offered that come as a welcome surprise to the children.
10. Friday Performance, Art Show, and Party
And finally, the Friday performance and Art Show is the moment we are all waiting for! Parents, siblings, extended family, and carers love coming to our Friday performances and watching what the children have created throughout the week. This gives everyone a chance to shine. Afterwards children collect their art and craft pieces, and we provide a few treats as well before saying our good byes.