What Youth Tellers Want & Need – Part 7 of 7

This is the seventh 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 – REVEALED
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond – REVEALED
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options – REVEALED
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages – TODAY

Youth burst out exciting ideas for stages – old and new.

Beware that I did not have a formal survey done. In fact, my two oldest kids – aged 10 and 12 – made me smile when I asked where they would like to perform…while having control over jitters.

My 10-year-old son took the traditional approach and wanted to tell at libraries. He would then want to venture onto bigger venues such as the Viridian Event Center. Interestingly, this is linked to the West Jordan Library…so technically still a library. But it is bigger in all regards. It was where we launched Story Crossroads in 2016.

My 12-year-old son decided that he wanted to improve his stories and be taught by someone to polish them up. He wanted to participate in the district-level storytelling festival that happens to feed into Story Crossroads. So far, he has not had teachers who actively teach and encourage their students to take part in that district-level event. Though, I am told that anyone can ask to be part of the district-level event if approved by a teacher. He knows that he would have to earn any spot with Story Crossroads and this is where to begin.

So, sniff, sniff, love how my boys think.

Now, are you ready for some incredible ideas?

My oldest has his eye on the GIGANTIC stage being built at The Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake County, Utah. He then listed the Smithsonian – National Air and Space Museum. He has always loved space and that would be his celestial-level dream.

But it does not stop here. He wanted to be the storyteller for a roller coaster at Lagoon. People could bring their own earbuds for the sounds of the story or be blasted somehow. He said that there are such things as VR Roller Coasters (see video of five of them) and perhaps something could be merged that way.

He imagined being the official storyteller of a laser tag arena to add to the intense adventure while people played.

Finally, he wanted to combine his beat-boxing skills with storytelling and perform first for a school stage and eventually at a Hip Hop concert.

Wow, wow, and more wow!

Why tell you all of this? Will this match the wishlist stages of the youth around you?

Maybe, maybe not.

The point is…have you asked? And…as truly anything is possible with enough commitment and imagination…is there any way you can make these wishlist stages come true?

I can realistically make a call at the Aquarium and propose the idea. Obviously, it would be easy to link up with libraries. Maybe youth can perform alongside a regularly scheduled storytime – combining story-reading with storytelling?

But what if those venues are closed? In lock-down?

Are there any libraries doing virutal programming? Could virtual backgrounds reveal these dream stages?

Don’t let something like a lock-down keep you down.

Brainstorm and be as awesome in ideas as our youth.

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…our next 5-part blog series will be “The Checklist: How to Set up Virtual Events” with the first part out on August 17, 2020.

What Youth Tellers Want & Need – Part 6 of 7

This is the sixth 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 – REVEALED
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond – REVEALED
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options – TODAY
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

Virtual options are prevalent today…and were yesterday and will be into the future.

Almost any idea you have can be transformed to virtual.

I did not always think this way. Live events are the best experiences, yet something not “the best” can still be wonderful. Many of us have had our eyes opened to possibilities due to lock-downs and stay-at-home mandates. While areas open up and gatherings of limited-sized are allowed, virtual events continue to be viable and important.

The same goes for youth events.

What can be virtual for youth?

  • Performances and Festivals
  • Workshops and Story Camps
  • Youth Teller Reunions
  • “Check-Ins” or “Chats” with other Youth Tellers – Informal
  • Story Game Nights
  • Round-Robin Storytelling or Break-out Groups for Developing Stories
  • Submitting Auditions or Story Pieces to be Reviewed/Selections
  • Mentoring/Coaching

Sounds like everything that can be done live? Yes, you are right.

Giving yourself permission to have any live event be adapted to virtual is freeing and a relief. Things do not have to stay canceled or postponed. There does not have to be months of nothing.

Of course, if you never pursued these youth events on the live level–such as Youth Teller Reunions–then give yourself permission to have the virtual event be the premiere and add the live version down the road.

More and more, I look forward to when we can offer both kinds of Reunions – live and virtual. Perhaps the live would be in the summer while the virtual would be in the winter. Something.

In the meantime, what platforms can work for these virtual events?

Need more? Check out this article: https://www.aventri.com/blog/tech-tuesday-the-top-13-online-meeting-platforms

Keep in mind that anything that involves the virtual world needs permissions from guardian(s) the same for live events. Even when do events as free or with tuition, involve a level of registration. This can be done through Google Forms and easily transformed into an Excel document. You could have a registration service. We recently have connected with Wild Apricot and love it. Figure out what works best for you.

Make something happen. Virtually. For youth.

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 5 of 7

This is the fifth 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 – REVEALED
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond – TODAY
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

Youth have amazing ideas and we, as adults, need to give them space to test them out.

Not all storytelling events involve youth. Does your event?

Even if you are not a producer of an event, you can invite youth to be with you as an individual artist.

When working with teachers, I always love to have at least a couple youth perform. I can promote youth storytelling in the classroom, but witnessing some youth share their skills can be the difference between a teacher embracing the art or not.

We cannot stop there.

Kevin Cordi and Kathy Palermo both taught storytelling classes for 9th to 12th grade students. When Kevin lived in California, the Lemoore and Hanford high schools combined forces for the annual Tellabration! in November. They made sure that the youth emceed. The youth stumbled here and there and some did better research of the performers than others…but they welcomed and celebrated with the audience.

Kevin and Kathy took it farther. They had the youth create the logos and artwork associated with the events. Every. year. I looked forward to what would be designed next. Some years were hand-drawings while other years had digital versions.

There was ownership. In everything.

Here are some articles of involving youth in planning and the process:

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 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 BeyoncĂ© – 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 3 of 7

This is the third 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 – TODAY
  • Part 4 – Combining Talents
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

We have birthdays, unbirthdays…and even storytelling birthdays.

For some of us in the art, we clearly have a year or month in mind. Do you know the exact day? When was it that you considered yourself a storyteller?

Let us be diligent in reminding the youth of their own storytelling birthdays.

We can distinguish between the storytelling birthday to the professional anniversary.

Me? September 7, 1994. This was when I decided to test a story out with my coach as a sophomore high school student–failed miserably–and then decided to not quit despite doubts.

However, this day was not what I count toward being a professional storyteller. Anything with work or paid opportunities tends to be dubbed an anniversary instead of a birthday.

My three years of high school plus four years of college are known as my apprenticeship time. I volunteered my talents as a storyteller through founding the Brigham Young University Storytelling Club.

Interestingly, I have a clear date for my storytelling birthday though only a month and year for the professional time.

Back to the youth in your life.

Help determine each youth’s storytelling birthday. Here are ways you can do that:

  • Date of first performance
  • Date of first date of workshop(s)
  • First date they prepped a story
  • Educated guess as to the time and allowing the youth to choose a specific date if not known.

If the youth remembers “August 2019” but nothing more, then have the youth choose a favorite number between 1-31.

No matter what date is chosen/determined, then honor it though a certificate of some kind.

Beyond the storytelling birthday, make sure to offer a certificate for any event or workshop they participate. These are important momentos that track and celebrate their storytelling journey.

Yes, encourage the youth to save the program or flier…but a certificate is that “something special.”

If you want to be really thoughtful, then create a Google Sheets or document that tracks the youth you have mentored or helped. You can send storytelling birthday cards in the mail…or at least a postcard…or even an e-birthday card.

When there is a birthday, people are wanting to “live” as long as possible within the art. Youth need to know that people care if they continue on the path of storytelling.

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.