Beginning Again….Past, Present, Future
One of my mantras is “always be a beginner”. So here I go again! It is my pleasure and privilege to be addressing you all as the president of the World Clown Association.. Honestly, as i began to write this article I had a complete writer’s block. So after three days of trying to figure out what to write I gave out a big sign and asked myself the question….”How in the world did I get here? Suddenly the answers came to me; very clearly and simply ….”by following in a lot of great footsteps.”
Before I talk about those “footsteps”, for those of you who don’t know my story and passage into clowning, let me give you a little synopsis….while working as the training manger at the telephone company the Telephone Pioneers, a group of retirees who perform voluntary work and community service as clowns, invited us active employees to attend one of their workshops. That was about twenty-four years ago and from that day forward I have been a clown. After leaving the telephone company I operated a child day care center from my home for thirteen years. Next to clowning, caring for the children and being that integral part of the growth and development was the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I have ever done. Working with children and studying to understand their behaviors desire to understand the actions and behaviors of adults as well. A cable TV program actually did a piece on me about the executive who threw away her briefcase to become a clown! At any rate, t seems like an entire lifetime ago and I have never had any regrets. I now perform as Joy the Magic Clown and my primary focus is the family oriented magic show. I am a longstanding member of SAM (Society of American Magicians), IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians), and SCAM (Southern California Association of Magicians).
Most of my business training is from the mid eighties….I was a child of the Tom Peters (“Thriving on Chaos”) era and the like. At one time I had over a dozen clowns working for me!! I think it was more a game to see how big I could grow the business and how “successful” I could be at it. Those days are over…now I measure my success by a different scale. Today I am a full time clown who over the years has clowned in probable every venue imaginable. Lately I have narrowed my parameters and limited my clowning to daycare centers, libraries, senior centers, malls and my local hospital. With the exception of the mall, the benefit to working in these venues is that they are primarily weekday events leaving my weekends free to spend time with my family and friends.
For the past sixteen years I have had one regular clown partner who is also mu best friend, Cynthia “Giggles” Lewis. She was originally a parent of one of my daycare kids. About eight years ago i closed my daycare center an joined our local hospital’s volunteer clown unit. It was there that I met two other dear friends and fellow hospital clowns, Evelyn “Freckles” Silverman and Judy “Bumbles” Fullenwider. Four years ago we formed our Hospital Clown School where Judy, Evelyn and I and co-instructors.
My belief is that you learn something from every experience and from each person you encounter and that what you learn is yours to keep and to put into use any way you may need to. Fortunately, I have had opportunities to learn, work and play in diverse atmospheres and my clowning has always found its place among them all.
I am a twenty-four year veteran and life member of the WCA. For the past three years I have served on the WCA Board of Directors. Within that time I have seem three great leaders in action, Rick Zaborak, Richard Snowberg and Aurora Krause and have gleaned a wealth of knowledge from each. As President of the WCA my hope and intent is to uphold those same standards of the organization and to meet the expectations of its members as well as my predecessors have…..those “footsteps” I mentioned earlier In pursuit of that goal my ongoing thinking and operating will be based upon these four principles:
1. CONTINOUS CAPABILITY BUILDING OF ALL MEMBERS: In my previous articles I have written about the benefit of continuous training and learning and the fact that no matter where you may go your accrued knowledge is your forever to apply in any way you wish. One of the many beauties of clowning is that any skill or talent you have from basket weaving to rocket science can be adapted to your art. The underlying message in all my communications will be to keep developing yourself and those traits that are innate and unique to you. I have found that to be the source of the personal joy I get from clowning.
2. MAINTAIN THE SOUND BUSINESS POSTURE OF THE ASSOCISTION: As much fun as clowning is, the association is in essence a “business” and we, the Board of Directors, have the responsibility and accountability for maintaining its health and viability.
3. EXPANDING THE GLOBAL STATURE OF THE WORLD CLOWN ASSOCISTION: It is an exciting time for the association with all its ongoing endeavors to become a global association not only in name but also in our involvement and presence in clowning throughout the world.
4. OPEN AND ORDERLY PATHWAY FOR COMMUNICATIONS WITHIN THE ORGNIZATION: Two years ago a flowchart depicting an alignment of our offices was created. This visual aid effectively illustrated the natural order, sequencing and flow of information and contacts , both “upstream and downstream”. As we use this chart, we are continually “tweaking” it. We expect it will continue to assist in identifying needs for modification in our structure that will further improve our operations and communications.
Well, that’s my story, my philosophy and my outlook. In closing I will say that for the most part, I have always been a sole proprietor and a solo performer. The work I have done with the WCA has already been a learning experience. I liken it to sport where there is a distinct difference between the individual sports like tennis or golf versus the team sports like basketball or soccer where the efforts of the entire tem re needed to reach the goal.
Now I would like to her from you. If you have questions on anything written her or anything else about the organization or this “team”, please ask!
Sincerely and Magically Yours,