What Youth Tellers Want & Need – Part 4 of 7

This is the fourth of seven parts on gleaming from personal experiences as well as experiences of the 100+ youth who have taken the stage – live and virtual – through Story Crossroads since 2016. We support youth beyond the stage through Youth Teller Reunions as well as Live & Virtual Story Camps.

7-Parts:

  • Part 1 – Choosing the “Right” Words – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Friend/Listener/Mentor – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – The Storytelling Birthday – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Combining Talents – TODAY
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

Youth have more than one talent, and storytelling is one of many.

When it is the first time for youth to learn storytelling, then focusing only on that talent is best. Though the second, third, fourth, or any other time after that initial instruction needs to be exploring what the youth enjoys beyond the art.

One of my favorite combinations was a youth teller who told a personal story while doing Karate. Obviously, Karate was important to the movement of the plot. He had the right amount of kicks that enhanced rather than distracted from the whole experience. He ended up being one of my top youth tellers for that year of Story Crossroads and moved along to the National Youth Storytelling.

We have plenty of adults that combine other talents with storytelling.

Although coming from an adult, I have always been fascinated by what Dustin Loehr contributed to the storytelling world with merging his tap dancing to the tellings. I could tell you of the time when he flew into Utah, needed a tap board, and I was scrounging and taking pictures of different wood panels to see if they “would pass inspection” the day before performance….

Though once on stage, his way of tip-tapping different sounds and postures to represent different characters was inspiring. We certainly will want him to perform at Story Crossroads again.

Any talent can combine with storytelling.

Music and dance are always brought to mind, though what are different genres and styles?

To get the brain-a-bubblin’, here are some music: Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Country, Soul, Dance Music, Hip Hop.

Normal, right?

Notice that dance and music often overlap.

Have you heard of: Enka, Isicathamiya, or Frevo?

Here is a highlight of one of them, and I will let you explore and learn about the other two.

Enka = Japanese semi-traditional singing style and folk wardrobe, mixed with modern and traditional instrumentation and influences…yet see some youth at a pep rally combine this style with “Let’s move” by Beyoncé – could there be some kind of combination with storytelling? Though, experience Enka and an interview with the singer, Hitomi Idemitsu…and the reason she is attracted to this style is that “Enka has stories in it.” Hmmm.

What about in the dance world: Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Ballroom.

Though have you heard of: Demi-Character, Bugg, or Ghumura?

Again, here is a highlight of one of them, and I will let you explore and learn about the other two.

Demi-Character = Classic ballet though must focus and portray a character in a…story, many competitions are out there for it and here is one youth with a “swimmingly” wonderful story dance.

Back to the youth in your life.

More talents are out there than music and dance. What else could youth combine with storytelling and draw them more so in the art than ever before?

  • Photography – with big enough pictures, projections on stage, or virtual means – this talent can be amazing with storytelling. Plus, I recently learned about PechaKucha.
  • Cooking – sometimes the cooking can be shared after the performance – the aromas can enhance the overall experience – or can be shared on screen of making/baking while telling. So many food stories around the world. David Novak had bread baking in an important Gilgamesh scene. Here is an article about it.
  • Fashion – how can the change of wardrobe help in the telling of a story – can more than one teller take the stage or can this be done solo – Pippa White (interview with her – she admits she did not call herself a storyteller until later) loves to do a simple switch of hats for historical representations while Darci Tucker (interview with her) has been three characters in one performance due to strategic layering. Why cannot youth do this with a twist? Does it always need to be historical…perhaps modern or even futuristic? We had youth tell 1-minute or so stories for the Story Train that stopped to the past, present, and future. The youth had to dress up to match their time period and story. The future ones…were fantastic. Actually, all were wonderful.

And this is only a sneak of talents that can make it to stage or performance in one way or another.

Brainstorm with youth.

Are they great at foreign languages? Can there be bilingual storytelling? What of visual arts beyond photography? Pottery? How can that tell a story?

How can anything truly be used to tell a story?

Yes, teach the basics of storytelling without the combining first…though there is no harm is letting youth know that you love their fill-in-the-blank talent and hint that you would love to see what they do with it for storytelling after learning how to do “pure” storytelling without the embellishments or add-ons.

You will be amazed.

Be there for our youth – today.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

And…Spread the word about our upcoming Story Camp for youth aged 8-17 in mid-August of two kinds: Limited-Sized/Proper-Distanced as well as Virtual.

What Youth Tellers Want & Need – Part 2 of 7

This is the second of seven parts on gleaming from personal experiences as well as experiences of the 100+ youth who have taken the stage – live and virtual – through Story Crossroads since 2016. We support youth beyond the stage through Youth Teller Reunions as well as Live & Virtual Story Camps.

7-Parts:

  • Part 1 – Choosing the “Right” Words – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Friend/Listener/Mentor – TODAY
  • Part 3 – The Storytelling Birthday
  • Part 4 – Combining Talents
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

Everyone talks about having adult mentors for youth tellers…when that is the wrong beginning.

Youth first need friends in the art, then listeners, and finally mentors.

When I delved into storytelling as a sophomore in high school, I was not drawn into it because of any adults. I had friends who said I was animated and that needed to do something about it. So I looked into the National Forensics League (NFL – yes, a confusing acronym) and discovered “storytelling” as a category.

It was the adult that made me nervous.

Everyone in the high school knew she was an award-winning coach. How many times had she “scored big” with the team she took to tournaments? Tons! That actually made it more terrified to test out my first story with her. After I stumbled and did almost everything wrong, all the coach said was, “Make sure to sign up for more practices.” This worried me.

“What?!? Was I meant to even take this storytelling path?”

Now think of how some youth could feel with these award-winning and highly-skilled professional storytellers.

The big reason most youth participate in storytelling is somehow linked to friends or the potential to gain friends.

My storytelling team-mates and I had some crazy times. We hung out and laughed as we awaited the results. Ah, my hands are still sore from our Egyptian Rat card games. I cheered on competitors (okay, so my team-mates were also my competition but still benefited our team as a whole). There was one girl known as “The Queen of Storytelling” because any time she competed, she ALWAYS went to trophy round…and probably 1st or 2nd place. So many other youth were inspiring and a hoot.

The only adult I remember in the whole Forensics experience was my coach.

Having Story Camps and residencies gives chances for youth to gather and gain those close-to-their-age friends.

That is not enough.

What happens after? Is there ANY kind of reunion or potential hanging out later?

None?

If you said, “None,” then you are not alone. Even long-standing storytelling festivals with participating youth often do not have Youth Teller Reunions. I have brought up a few times with the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival that–as they usually have 25+ youth each year–it would make sense to have some kind of reunion. I know people with Timpanogos, but that is not my organization so I can only do so much.

At least where I have been connected…that is where I can make changes. The Weber State University Storytelling Festival has reunions at the Dinosaur Park in Ogden, UT. Story Crossroads usually has them at Boondocks – fun and arcades – in Draper, UT.

Are you linked to any storytelling festivals or events? Several? You have the potential to bring this up.

You could say, “But gathering is hard now.” Uh, there is the Internet. Zoom. Google Hangouts. Facebook Rooms. And on and on.

This year, the 5th Annual Story Crossroads Youth Teller Reunion will be done virtually in mid-August. Yes, we have permissions from guardians while being free. We are already receiving registrations for it.

We want to propose to the youth the idea of having them interact with other youth tellers from around the world. Their answers will determine everything.

Remember the first post and the talk of Texas, New York, and Florida? What of India, Singapore, Italy, and Lebanon? Hopefully, we can have a sort of pen pal/story pal thing going on.

Do people even know what having a “pen pal” is anymore? You use “snail mail” and write letters on paper back and forth. Postcards are better.

The virtual version could be an email story pal. But that term won’t work with youth today.

How about “TellTale Friend”? Someone you can share your secrets and fears with storytelling. Hopes and dreams. Ideas and inklings.

Besides, if Facebook can use the word “Friend” the same as any other social media, then at least the word “Friend” works.

Adults, have you thought of doing this?

  • Supporting a youth teller by being someplace they tell
  • Finding performing opportunities for youth
  • Setting up performing opportunities for youth
  • Showing up and dedicating virtual or in-person time to hear their latest story WITHOUT comments
  • Showing up and dedicating virtual or in-person time to hear their latest story WITH comments only WITH permission
  • Sending encouraging texts or links to story videos – again, permission from guardians – could send directly to guardian who then passes along the message
  • And so much more

See how this works along the proper order of first Friend then Listener and finally Mentor.

We can adjust our thinking and techniques to be more youth-friendly.

Keep in mind that youth can be all three of those roles: Friend, Listener, and Mentor.

Did you ever see Kindergarteners paired with 6th graders for reading to each other back and forth? They are both kids, though the pairing of youth can be done in many ways.

Can we link elementary youth tellers with high school or even fresh-in-college tellers?

Then what else can the adults do? We can be listeners. Only become a mentor or coach IF you have permission from that youth (and guardians, of course).

I often take my kids to the Utah Storytelling Guild Chapter meetings. When it came time for people to comment on stories for the coaching part, I was pleased that my kids felt comfortable in adding to the conversation. There was not an adult/youth hierarchy. They were equals. Their comments were thoughtful and with a fresh perspective.

Open your mind. Keep brainstorming. Then make it happen.

Be there for our youth – today.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

And…Spread the word about our upcoming Story Camp for youth aged 8-17 in mid-August of two kinds: Limited-Sized/Proper-Distanced as well as Virtual.

What Youth Tellers Want & Need – Part 1 of 7

This is the first of seven parts on gleaming from personal and experiences of the 100+ youth who have taken the stage – live and virtual – through Story Crossroads since 2016. We support youth beyond the stage through Youth Teller Reunions as well as Live & Virtual Story Camps.

7-Parts:

  • Part 1 – Choosing the “Right” Words – TODAY
  • Part 2 – Friend/Listener/Mentor
  • Part 3 – The Storytelling Birthday
  • Part 4 – Combining Talents
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

The future is bright with youth storytelling.

There is more going on than most people realize. Even professional storytellers are unaware of how many youth are already involved in the art. Where Story Crossroads resides – Utah – is where youth storytelling is the most active in all the world.

Recently, we have been in contact with people leading amazing youth mentorship and performance opportunities from India to Singapore to Italy to Lebanon. Within the United States, other strong areas are Florida, Texas, and New York. Sometimes youth involves 5-year-olds to 17-year-olds while others lump in the college-aged adults when talking about “the next generation of storytelling.”

But what do youth want? What do they need? How does this affect how to work with youth in developing their storytelling skills?

We will take this one at a time during this 7-part blog series.

Let’s Use the Right Words.

Some adult storytellers cringe when using the words like “contest,” “competition,” and “winner” when promoting the art.

Yet…the competition side of things is what originally drew me into the art. And I am not alone.

Storytelling is a “nice” art. We cooperate and collaborate and have not as many divas than, let’s say, the theater world. To throw in words that indicate levels or ranks or anything like that tends to rub against the grain of many professional storytellers.

But, as a high school student, earning medals and trophies was awesome.

I started storytelling as as sophomore in high school. It has now been 27 years. I am not looking for medals or trophies anymore. My motives have significantly changed. But would I be around today had there not been some level of competition? Probably not.

Some people prefer a softer word such as “showcase.” The National Youth Storytelling has gone by several names. It originally was National Youth Storytelling Olympics (NYSO). Perhaps it was a little dangerous to use “Olympics,” though that word already implies competition. Later, it was called National Youth Storytelling Showcase. Some of the Board hated the idea of choosing “the best.” Suddenly, all the finalists received trophies or plaques but they were all the same. There was not the ultimate ambassador or winner anymore.

Now consider what older youth are hungry for…events that are set-up like The Moth. This is more than a competition. These fall often in the ultra-short personal and true stories (5-7 minutes) and usually categorized as “slams.” And these slams? They can even be ruthless and involve booing. Usually, there is only applause or cheering for “regular” competitions.

The counter of these slams though still in that competitive world would be Myth-Offs. These are more popular in Europe though bit by bit have made appearances in the United States. Now we delve into competition but in the folkloric world.

See a pattern?

We can still have the “nice” words to promote storytelling with the youth.

Consider something else.

The vision of Story Crossroads existed for a long time but what was the catapult? Someone over a city-level storytelling festival wanted a county-level storytelling festival for their youth to take part in. The result? Story Crossroads launching in 2016 instead of 2017 or much later. You have the need of moving to the next level to the next level.

If you don’t like “winner,” then you can still use “selected” and “chosen.”

Now another twist.

The surge in podcasts has an edge of competition to it as well. Not everyone gets to air on a show. There is risk and anticipation. “Will my story be the one?”

When we have open mic or other events where anyone can be part of something, it can be wonderful…and other times not as enticing.

Still have these “nice” events, though please think about what youth are being drawn to and adapt your offerings accordingly.

Be there for our youth – today.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

And…Spread the word about our upcoming Story Camp for youth aged 8-17 in mid-August of two kinds: Limited-Sized/Proper-Distanced as well as Virtual.

Generational Gains (Day 7–A-Z Blog Challenge)

Generations--Aleksa, Steffani, JimEnjoy all of these A-Z Blog Challenge posts. Versión en Español se puede encontrar a continuación o haga clic aquí para ir allí. Haga clic en mí para saltar a la parte española. Also look forward to the Story Crossroads crowdsourcing campaign May 1, 2015.

“G” is for Generational Gains.

Too often we hear the phrase “Generational Gaps” when we need to celebrate “Generational Gains.”  Last night we saw Aleksa Poulter, a youth teller, express the impact storytelling has had on her family and with the choices she makes in life.  The young lady started storytelling in 1st grade.  She is now a sophomore in high school.  She said that knowing she can perform on stage with a hundred people listening means she has the confidence to enter the doors of high school and face whatever comes next.

Aleksa attributed her success and love of the art to the support that her mother and other family members gave to her from the beginning.

We have a feeling this young lady will make sure the generation after her will connect with storytelling.

Last night we also saw Steffani Raff, a mother of six children and a professional storyteller, delve into the joys of sharing moments and stories with her family.  She delights in extending this reach to other families in her communities and beyond, knowing that strong communication in the home means stronger communities.

Steffani loves the results of a recent study made by Marriage and Family Therapist Kelly Gagalis-Hoffman (and promotes on her website www.piratesandpajamas.com, see also her www.storypossilities.com with constant articles).  The study found that storytelling within the family:

  • Creates a family identity
  • Promotes the transfer of values from parents to children
  • Enables parents and children to see situations from other perspectives
  • Influences children to develop positive attitudes toward their parents
  • Creates a treasured time for fun and connection
  • Facilitates feelings of safety, security, comfort, and belonging
  • Gives parents a sense of creative fulfillment
  • Gives parents a place to share important things with children in an non-threatening and memorable way

Click here to see Kelly Gagalis-Hoffman’s full study.

Finally, last night we heard Jim Luter share the fascination of the art of storytelling as seniors.  Jim taught Communications, Public Speaking, Voice and Articulation, and Oral Interpretation for 38 years while chairing the Speech Department at Los Angeles City College.  When he joined the Utah Storytelling Guild (and by doing so got involved and supported Story Crossroads), he admitted that the art of storytelling has taught him new skills that were not shared during his Communications years.

Jim had this to say:

I have recently realized, however, this nation’s youth do not know much about history and the people who made it.  They need to hear the stories of the heroes, and the villains, the patriots and the traitors and how their lives affect us today.  Moreover, our youth need to know that they can have an effect on the future.  Additionally, they should be taught the importance of family history, both heard and told.  Hopefully, I can help meet some of these needs and have fun doing it.

By the smile on his face as he shares a story, we know that he is certainly having fun.

These three people—from youth to adult to senior—show us the hope there is for generational gains in storytelling.  One person at a time, we make a difference.

Now–

As storytellers, we can show up in schools and tell to youth.  Check.  We reached that generation.  As storytellers, we can show up in universities or coffee shops and tell to adults.  Check.  We reached that generation.  As storytellers we can show up in senior centers and tell to seniors.  Check.  We reached that generation.

Yet, individuals from each generation are who we want to reach.  Professional storytellers tend to have that “hit and run” approach of going to a place once to tell and hoping someone will carry the storytelling torch on.  We cannot stop there.  We must be good examples and have storytelling be part of our homes and let that influence grow with time.

Let us reach one individual, one home, one community at a time.

Aquí lo tiene.
Generations--Aleksa, Steffani, JimLas Ganancias Generacionales

Rogamos disculpen esta traducción al español que hemos utilizado un software de traducción. Estamos en proceso de hacer que las personas ayudar a traducir estos A-Z Blog Desafío puestos, así como todas las demás entradas del blog.

Muy a menudo escuchamos la frase “las brechas generacionales” cuando tenemos que celebrar el “Relevo Generacional Las Ganancias.”  ayer por la noche, vi Aleksa Poulter, un joven narrador, narración expresar la repercusión ha tenido en su familia y con las decisiones que se hacen en la vida.  La joven dama comenzó la narración en 1° grado.  Ella es ahora un estudiante de la escuela secundaria.  Ella dice que saber que puede realizar en un escenario, con un centenar de personas escuchando significa que tiene la confianza para entrar en la puerta de la escuela secundaria y enfrentar lo que viene.

Aleksa atribuye su éxito y su amor por el arte con el apoyo de su madre y otros miembros de la familia le dio a ella desde el principio.

Tenemos la sensación de que esto joven dama, asegúrese de que la generación después de su se conectará con la narración.

Ayer por la noche vimos también que Steffani Raff, madre de seis hijos y un narrador profesional, profundizar en las alegrías de compartir momentos y experiencias con su familia.  Deleita en ampliar ese alcance a otras familias en sus comunidades y más allá, sabiendo que una intensa comunicación en el hogar significa comunidades más fuertes.

Steffani ama los resultados de un reciente estudio realizado por terapeuta matrimonial y familiar Kelly Gagalis-Hoffman (Y promueve en su sitio web www.piratesandpajamas.com, ver también su www.storypossilities.com con constantes artículos).  El estudio encontró que la narración en el seno de la familia:

  • Crea una identidad familiar
  • Promueve la transferencia de los valores de los padres a sus hijos
  • Permite que los padres y los niños a ver las situaciones desde otras perspectivas
  • Influencias los niños a desarrollar actitudes positivas hacia sus padres
  • Crea un valioso tiempo para la diversión y la conexión
  • Facilita sentimientos de seguridad, la seguridad, el confort, y el sentimiento de pertenencia
  • Les da a los padres un sentido de realización creativa
  • Les da a los padres un lugar para compartir cosas importantes a los niños en un no-amenazador y manera inolvidable

Haga clic aquí para ver Kelly Gagalis-Hoffman total del estudio.

Por último, esta noche hemos escuchado Jim Luter compartir la fascinación del arte de contar cuentos como las personas de edad.  Jim enseñó las comunicaciones, el arte de hablar en público, la voz y la articulación, y la Interpretación Oral durante 38 años como presidente del Departamento de voz Los Angeles City College.  Cuando se unió a la narración Utah Guild (y, con ello, se han involucrado e historia compatible Encrucijada), admitió que el arte de la narración le ha enseñado nuevos conocimientos que no son compartidas durante sus comunicaciones años.

Jim ha dicho lo siguiente:

 Recientemente me he dado cuenta, no obstante, los jóvenes de esta nación no sé mucho sobre la historia y la gente que lo hizo.  Tienen necesidad de escuchar las historias de los héroes y los villanos, los patriotas y los traidores y cómo sus vidas nos afectan hoy en día.  Por otra parte, nuestros jóvenes necesitan saber que pueden tener un efecto en el futuro.  Además, se les debe enseñar la importancia de la historia familiar, sean escuchadas y le dijo.  Espero que me puedan ayudar a satisfacer algunas de estas necesidades y divertida.

Con la sonrisa en su rostro como comparte una historia, sabemos que, sin duda, es una diversión.

Estas tres personas de adulto y juvenil superior nos muestran a la esperanza hay ganancias para el relevo generacional en la narración.  Una persona a la vez, podemos hacer una diferencia.

Ahora–

Como narradores, se pueden mostrar en las escuelas y decirle a la juventud.  Verificar.  Hemos llegado a esa generación.  Como narradores, se pueden mostrar en las universidades o las cafeterías y decirle a los adultos.  Verificar.  Hemos llegado a esa generación.  Como narradores que podemos mostrar en centros para la tercera edad y para personas mayores.  Verificar.  Hemos llegado a esa generación.

Sin embargo, las personas de cada generación que queremos alcanzar.  Narradores profesionales tienden a tener que “hit and run” de ir al lugar una vez que contar y esperando que alguien vaya a llevar la antorcha de la narración.  No podemos detenernos aquí.  Tenemos que ser buenos ejemplos y cuentos ser parte de nuestros hogares y que esa influencia crece con el tiempo.

Pongámonos un individuo, una casa, una comunidad en un momento.