Your favorite Mustache is back on the Move! A few weeks ago, I was off to the best place on Earth for the best week of the year. Forget Christmas; for me, the most wonderful time of the year is Tannen's Magic Camp! This year was the 49th camp (WOW!!). I've been coming to camp as a counselor for 25 years (ALSO wow!!), and for the past 15 of them, the camp has been held at the beautiful Bryn Mawr College campus outside Philadelphia. Tannen's is also a store in Manhattan that sells hundreds of essential magical items. From tricks and props to books and instructional videos, it's a great place to discover something new or enhance your repertoire. You can find their website here if you want to check it out! Their camp is held every summer for anyone ages 10 to 20 who has a passion for creating the unexpected.
This year was the first year back in-person since the pandemic. In the summers of 2020 and 2021, Tannen's put on virtual Magic Camps to keep the tradition alive. Even though the online camps were jam-packed with helpful lecturers, talented performers, and equally skillful teachers, this year made me realize that nothing beats the real thing. Eighty-five percent of the campers this year were either brand new to camp or had only attended the online versions. They were able to watch some incredible magicians perform and also learn from those same magicians in their classes, lectures, and workshops. Whether you are a camper or a counselor, if you come to Magic Camp, you leave with a family!
One person from my Camp Family who I really love is my goddaughter, Abi. I met her dad, Skippy, during my first year at camp in 1996. He was a counselor then and is still a counselor now! In 2004, Abi was born, and Skippy brought her to camp for a few days when she was just 6 months old, which was when I met her. Now she's 18 (gulp), this year was her fifth year as a camper, and she was awarded the Mario Gonzalez Jr. Camper of the Year Award! I am so amazed by the young woman she has become, and I can't wait to see how she continues to grow. The photo here is Abi and me right after she won the award, where the energy was almost as high as the temperature and humidity ;).
As many of you know, one of my biggest passions is teaching others, whether it's balloons or magic tricks. I usually have the opportunity to teach both at camp!
Some of the first-year campers chose to take the "Magic 101" workshop, where every day they learned a different skill from juggling to advertising to, you guessed it, balloon art. On "balloon day", I teach the campers how to do several simple balloon designs, such as the flower I'm holding in the photo to the left.
One of the highlights of my week at Tannen's Camp was teaching some simple tricks to young Mateo, pictured right. For some people, learning or understanding how a trick works gives them just as much wonder as seeing it performed. Mateo was eager to watch the magic demonstrated by several campers and counselors, and I was even able to teach him a little something to impress his friends and family. Moments like these are what it's all about for me!
Clearly, there are dozens of reasons that Tannen's Magic Camp is so important to me; I can't say enough about it. If camp sounds like something a kid you know might enjoy, be sure to visit the camp website here to learn how you can join the Camp Family!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions! I hope you're enjoying your summer :)
(photos courtesy of Hal Schulman and Todd "Skippy" Seidenberg)