I'm back at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia for my twelfth or thirteenth summer teaching at Tannen's Magic Camp. It's exactly as geeky and amazing as you imagine it to be. One week of the year, magicians from across the US come together to teach the future stars of magic. If you're really fascinated by this, you can even watch the documentary film, Magic Camp, where I make a quick cameo.
When I am here, I remember why I am here.
The energy, the excitement, and eagerness to learn is contagious. When it's combined with sincerity and politeness, it wins me over. I want to nurture and encourage this future generation of magicians. I want them all to grow up to be helpful, loving people. And I think magic is a wonderful part of their growth cycle.
Magic gives these young students new skills, builds their confidence and—what I love the most—gives them an additional way to express themselves creatively and intellectually.
The kids that come to camp get so much out of it. There's the camaraderie and community that's created as they interact with their peers and make lifelong friends. There's the opportunity to see the best professionals in the world performing every night and learn directly from their heroes and mentors.
Looking at their peers and recognizing that there's a whole other level they can aspire to creates the drive and energy that fuels their passion for the entire year. They see what's possible with enough work and dedication. And they eagerly await to return the next summer to show off how much they have learned.
This is the week of the year where I give the most and I get the most. I share, help, coach and communicate. We discuss the physical and mental principles of performing magic. We talk about how to learn magic, how to practice it, how to perform it, how to pay attention, connect and love your audiences.
Every student is in a different place. Some need the how to do's. Others need the how to be's. Some are developing their tricks and others are developing their character. No matter where they are in their journey, no matter how good they may be, each and every one of us sees that we can only get better.
I never got to be a camper here, but I come back to teach every year because it is also the greatest way that I can learn and grow. I am—always and forever—a student.