Community Advocacy Workshop Tour
Community Advocacy Workshop Tour by Bella Tasha (Acting Teaching Artist and Teen Programs Coordinator)
Workshop tour poses a lot of opportunities and challenges. Unlike typical performances, workshops have to be structured, while still being flexible. The teen leaders, now acting as facilitators themselves, have to be able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances or last-minute changes. Since this is our first fully in person workshop tour since 2019, it was exciting to return to the swing of things, travel around the city, and see the teens work together to plan and collaborate. This year, I was with the group named YGT (Young, Gifted, & Talented). Workshop tour can sometimes feel like ‘a trial by fire’ in regard to learning how to facilitate. The leadership skills and ensemble support that the teen leaders have been developing all summer really started to shine as they figured out the flow of their workshop. As pacing and transitions naturally come together, the confidence of the group becomes stronger. While there are always frustrations, I appreciate that during tour there is time for the group to hang out and have fun. I enjoyed seeing friendships grow stronger and folks laughing and having a good time during lunch or in transit.
Week Four by Fen Wright
Week 4 was one of the most stressful and exciting experiences of the entire program, as it is every year. Apart from the Final Showcase, this is what the teens spend most of their time over the summer preparing for, and it’s the event that takes by far the most time and energy while it happens. It’s an exercise in adaptability and resilience, and it’s hard for newcomers and returners alike. We walk around Boston to different sites and perform a workshop for groups of kids of varying age ranges. The teens have to learn on the fly how to manage a group, sometimes working with children, sometimes teens their own age, and trust that their workshop’s message is properly imparted onto their audience. For a lot of teens, this is the first time they have to teach others, and that transition is always hard the first time.
On top of that, in between workshops, the teens do pop-up performances in an effort to advertise the Final Showcase to the public. This can be any content they’ve generated thus far, or even just having fun dancing to music, but it all helps spread the message of the Final Showcase, hopefully bringing our audience numbers up. These performances do take a toll on energy, though, so the teens have to be resilient and keep pushing through their exhaustion, and I’ve been incredibly impressed with how they handled themselves through these challenges. Even when they were exhausted, they found some form of motivation: lunch was soon, they were already at the site early, after this song they can do the Cha Cha Slide, whatever worked. I’m so proud of how this week has gone, and I’m very excited with how the Final Showcase will turn out.