Hello Somervillians reading this blog!
I had the honor to interview our wonderful state senator, Ms. Patricia Jehlen, about her time at the OAC. She helped found the program about 20 years ago, and usually volunteers to teach stilting. She has also taught kazoo band, co-taught double Dutch, and helped to introduce tumbling for two. Besides all of this, Ms. Manz has described her as “the champion of the teen program” at the OAC.
When asked about the types of skills teen leaders at the OAC will learn, she said that they’ll learn “performance skills, organizing, teaching”. She also said that “they’ll have a lot of fun and make new friends of all ages”. When asked about the impact that the teen leaders have on the kids, she said that “the older kids often become mentors, and the younger kids certainly look up to them.” Ms. Jehlen said that to be a successful teen leader, one would need to be reliable and be interested in performing, but “they don’t have to be proficient to start with, but learning the skill they’re teaching would be helpful,” most teens, even without much circus skills at first, can be capable teen leaders.
My final question for Ms. Jehlen was about the impact the OAC has on the community. According to Ms. Jehlen, the OAC “creates an ongoing, multi-generational community of circus aficionados.” She also says “it gives children a chance to perform, to learn new skills, to feel proud of themselves. And it gives adults a chance to enter a magical world, just for five weeks, and help create an amazing performance.”
I have to give another shout out to Ms. Jehlen for taking the time out of her certainly busy political schedule to answer my questions. Again, please visit www.openaircircus.org and contact us at email@example.com if you want to be a teen leader.