Students in Erica Shonkwiler’s Event Production class dipped their toes in the uncertain waters of improvisation last month. The capstone course requires students to plan and execute an event for a client, in this case a summer camp aimed at using improv to develop communication skills in teens with autism. Camp Yes And also provides a free professional learning opportunity for teachers to learn how improv can help them support these students in their classrooms.
Jim Ansaldo, one of the founders of Camp Yes And, hosted a private workshop for the five students planning the event, a fundraiser to help sustain and grow the camp. Jim used improv games to help the students understand how someone with autism experiences the world, and how he uses the tenets of improv to help these teens shift their behavior.
Kendra Warne, one of the students, said, “After experiencing the improv workshops, I gained a better understanding of the fun and supportive group environment Camp Yes And provides.”