Four kids wiggle in their seats as they sit in a circle, all eyes on Karen Buchanan and the colourful rings in her hands. Today, kids in the Kaien Anti-Poverty Society summer program are learning to juggle.
“Part of the reason I wanted to do this juggling project was to provide children and adults with the opportunity to play. To just be silly and have fun and learn a new skill,” Buchanan said in the class.
For the next hour, Buchanan, the executive director of Change Makers Education Society and owner of Brilliant Experience, will teach these kids how to balance and properly catch and throw balls. Giggles erupt as bean bag balls fly and fall, and the children grow from shy to rambunctious.
This past spring, Buchanan was given an Imagine grant from Northern Health, which helped purchase juggling supplies for the community.
“Juggling is a form of active meditation and it helps build confidence as people learn new skills and techniques,” she added, as the kids around her focused all their attention on their hand-eye coordination. “They can be proud and share it with their friends and entertain each other.”
Every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer, Buchanan leads “happy hour” juggling at 5 p.m. in the museum. All ages are welcome to juggle, no matter what their experience level.
“I think happy hour in our culture has been associated often with indulging in your local watering hole and I just think there are many other opportunities to be happy, so I wanted to reclaim the idea of happy hour,” Buchanan said with a laugh.
After she wraps up with the kids — who each get to take a new set of juggling balls home to practice — Buchanan is off to teach seniors at the senior centre how to clown around. You’re never too old to have fun.