Editors note: The following post was written and submitted too me for the blog after regular listener Mihaela Blaga, a librarian from Romania, wrote me a very nice email describing her work and her success using storytelling as the focus of a retreat in her native county. B. W.
Hi Eric and readers of the Art of Storytelling Blog,
For me this first storytelling camp was a wonderful experience and also a dream that became reality…..
I decided to have a really entertaining program for this camp, so that it would be special for the children, a really story camp. We had trips, stories, fire camp, parties and of course we played a lot with the sleighs in the snow.
During the three days of camp, we had four storytelling workshops.
I started the “program of stories” with a beautiful one about forgiveness and about what it means to have a good heart full of love and friendship instead of hate or anger, and so, I gave a good start to our relationship. Then I continued with a story about what it means and how important it is to be good and to do good things, than I had stories about animals and nature.
The most loved story was about princess Violet who became a very beautiful girl after learning from her nanny that people become more beautiful and happier if they help the others. In the evening I preferred the stories with and about God. I also brought with me the most beautiful books with stories from the library in order to present them to the children.
The most important moment was when during the horse sleigh tour, I asked the children to start creating their own stories, assuring them that I was there to help and sustain. (The horses were important for us, they were really loved by the children because I told them that they had magic power and that they could fly and that they would also love to hear their stories. I was also “helped” very much in creating the magic land for children by a nice black dog which seemed to have understood all my words and which has followed us all the way giving us the feeling that we were guide by a servant of the Snow Fairy).
First, they seemed to have difficulties, but after starting building the first stages of the stories I couldn’t have stopped them. It was wonderful for me to see that the three talented girls from the group that I have worked with, a lot in the library were trying to help the others, and they were really good.
The best moment for me was at the campfire, in the last evening when they showed all that they learnt from me and my stories… the best thing was that from their stories we had learnt so many good things. The children seemed to be old and wise. It was so clear that through storytelling we share kindness and wisdom.
Another important moment was “the fly” with the chairlift. Although they were a little bit scared, I told them that the fly was something natural in the world of the stories and I also told them stories about the Snow Fairy and her kingdom which was just under our legs, and so it remained a wonderful memory.
Their show was so good also on the bus on the way back (4 hours )because their imagination was stimulated by the sceneries and by their improved experience. Stories seemed to be told easy and with pleasure, it was a good way of showing the most beautiful part of their souls.
For me, storytelling is a wonderful thing, very precious to my soul because I really feel joy seeing that I can influence in good people souls and lives.
After coming back, I received many calls from children, parents, grandparents that thanked me and asked me to organize other camps too. One grandmother told me a lot about the good influence on her nephew (a boy of 8 years old who has emotional problems based on the divorce of his parents).Darius is now happier since he has been in the stories land, and he keeps telling about it. George still asks me to go back in the stories land.
It is a great feeling to bring joy in children lives and to have the chance to open in front of them the door of the magic world of the stories, to encourage and develop their imagination. I also have to recognize that this camp gave me the opportunity to feel again the sweet taste of a childhood in the middle of the stories, and as an adult, I appreciated it very much.
So, thank you very much Brother Wolf for teaching me how to become a storyteller because without you, we wouldn’t have had the chance of this great adventure in the stories land….and I would have had remained in my library office, just a common librarian….
Mihaela Blaga – 33years old
Librarian and now storyteller at A.D. Xenopol Library, Arad, Romania
The following article appeared in a local paper a week after the story camp weekend. Translated from Romanian to English by Mihaela Blaga
Holiday Storytelling Camp
During the winter holidays , Ludoteca of the Library District AD Xenopol Arad initiated a new adventure in the world of the stories: the first camp storytelling.
In a fairytale scenery, not far from the beautiful town Arie’eni children have “flown” with the chairlift, and also with the Fairies sleigh, to the stories and palaces from the snowing world . The trip has inspired them,and they realized many beautiful stories. Their stories are talking about the struggle between Good and Evil, about the fact that the good always wins in front of the evil and about the bad people who became good people. Many of the children created and told stories.
Together with the librarian Mihaela Blaga and the teacher Lavinia Neag on the last day at Arie’eni, children sang and felt great around the fire camp lit by the organizers, the memories of this beautiful adventure.