09 June 2016

20 magical memories from Sorcerers Safari

Almost 20 years ago, armed only with the idea of making magic more accessible to kids who want to learn magic, "Magic Mike" Segal opened the doors to Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp.  Sorcerers Safari is Canada's only sleepaway magic camp, hosting up to 150 campers a year.

Words fail to adequately describe the phenomenon that is Sorcerers Safari.  Everyone comes away from camp with their own unique experience.  To mark their upcoming 20th anniversary, here’s a list of:

20 magical memories from Sorcerers Safari (in no particular order):
  1. My favourite camp memory would have to be when I first went to Sorcerers Safari. I saw all of my idols in magic and there were so many magicians that I had watched on TV and on YouTube. It was brilliant to see them perform and not only to see them perform but just to have a normal magic or even non magic conversation with them was amazing to me. It was literally like a dream come true!

    Brad B.
    Camper: 2014-2015


  2. The first year I ever attended I recall walking down a wooded path and seeing Michael Ammar talking to a group of campers who were seated under the shade of a huge tree.  Michael was talking about choosing magic as a career and I could see the look in all the campers eyes as I eavesdropped.  I knew in that very moment I would return to camp as often as I could as I felt something I’d never felt before.  Not sure how to describe it, but it was just so special.

    Shawn Farquhar (magichampion.com)
    Instructor: 2008-2013, 2015
  3. A favourite memory was making a card flourish duel that appeared in the 2013 camp video.


    Eric S.
    Camper: 2007-2014


  4. I was overwhelmed by the quality of instruction and the dedication of Mike, Jen and the entire board and staff. It was without doubt one the finest experiences I've had in my almost 40 years in the Magic business.

    Phil Matlin (PerfectMagic.com)
    Guest: 2014
  5. I would have to say that my favourite memory at camp would have to be after Brett C. and I performed the “cube in cube out” stage illusion. It was a huge relief that the whole thing went successfully and it was also the first routine that Brett and I created together.

    Holden L.
    Camper: 2008-2015

  1. Many of my favourite memories at Sorcerers Safari come from the late night jam sessions in the campers' cabins.  You never know what newest tricks or guest magicians you'll find.

    For example, a few years back, I witnessed Tyler Wilson sharing the longest and most entertaining card revelation I've seen. Over the course of about 45 minutes, the cabin filled with campers as they watched him attempt to find the card.  Pure suspense. Needless to say, he had no idea what the card was, and was playing us the entire time.

    The jam sessions offer a great opportunity to see the campers' talent and creativity.  In 2015, Philip B. and I posed an Ambitious Card challenge to the cabin.  They split into 2 teams to work together to create an Ambitious Card routine from scratch.  This impromptu competition went on for close to 2 hours and was a blast to watch!

    Sheldon Casavant (SheldonCasavant.com)
    Camper: 2003, Counsellor: 2004 and 2007, Instructor: 2015
  2. Trying to find only one Sorcerers Safari good memory is impossible because there are so many!  So let’s say that one of them is when Anders Bjorkman, Johnny Toronto, and I did a “fire trio act” together on the beach during the party night. I believe it happened in 2010. We literally had a blast!!!

    Loran, (LoranIllusion.com)
    Instructor: 2000 - 2015

  1. a) The first time (repeated over the years) that all the campers hit the stage on the final night to present their interpretation of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” ... (always a fun moment).
    b) Seeing the "shy and timid" take the stage for the first time in front of their peers and proudly present an effect they have learned at camp.
    c) The meal times with the table banging under the direction of Lee Asher.
    d) Seeing a camper on TELEVISION presenting magic... and only a few years earlier not being able to communicate...
    e) Year after year - the reunions. Campers emailing each other to make sure they would be in the same dorm.
    f) The chant of "we love Dick, we love Dick."

    Dick Joiner, (DickJoiner.com)
    Instructor: ~2001-2015


  2. Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp was the first time I ever went to camp. I'm in my seventies and it was fun and exciting. I loved the enthusiasm of the kids and their teachers, who were the best. We met old friends and made new ones. Keep up the good work and thank you Mike for inviting us.

    Evelyn Matlin (PerfectMagic.com)
    Guest: 2014
  3. I have so many wonderful memories of camp that it's near impossible to choose just one. But a camp classic that we continually reminisce about all the time happened on my first year when Rob 'Fish The Magish' Fishbaum secretly hid in the woods during the middle of the night, waited until I walked by, then jumped out making a loud squealing pig noise. I shrieked like a little girl, jumped into Steve Kline's arms completely terrified, and almost crapped my pants.

    It was an amazing moment. It's also when I knew these people would be part of my family for the rest of our lives. The best part, scaring the newbie staff has since become a long-standing camp tradition.

    Lee Asher (LeeAsher.com)
    Special Guest: 2001, Instructor: 2002-2015


  4. Lip Sync Battles


      

    Jeff P.

    Counsellor in Training: 2015
  5. When the whole camp did a one camera take lip dub! That was so exciting and EVERYONE had a part and nailed it! The video was a hit and definitely one to be remembered.

    Watch the 2011 Sorcerers Safari Lip Dub on YouTube:



    Lorena Watters (TrevorWatters.com)
    Instructor: 2010-2014

  1. a) I remember one night at the nightly stage shows in the Pinetages theatre:  the air was hot and thick… the performers were breaking a sweat after literally 30 seconds on stage.  And out of the blue we see Lee Asher come out and perform a trick (and a dance!) in a massive eggplant costume! It was epic.

    b) One year we decided to do a lip dub. It was amazing to see everyone come together and participate with such passion and precision. Check out the video it took us about a half-day to film. It was truly awesome.

    Eric Leclerc (EricLeclerc.com)
    Instructor: 2008-2015


  2. My favourite memory from camp was probably performing for Michael and Lisa Close's daughter on stage. I was able to use her last name to do a hilarious bit for the entire camp while poking fun of their last name.

    Chris Westfall (ChrisWestfallMagic.com)
    Instructor


  3. One of my favourite memories would be Eric Leclerc and a few of us attempting to scare RJ late at night with a bunch of scary halloween masks and then RJ wouldn't wake up. I have the video footage of it, but it is one of those bits that never made it into the annual Sorcerers Video, but was very funny to observe at the time.

    Chris Mayhew (ChrisMayhewMagic.com)
    Videographer: 2013-2015
  4. a) Performing on the camp stage. The first time I worked a stage, wore a mic, stood in front of the lights, and performed for a "big" crowd all came at camp. I'll never forget the love and support people showed me, and it's probably a major reason why I'm still getting up there today!

    b) Watching my campers grow up.  I still maintain relationships with campers I had a decade ago.  Some have become better performers than I would have ever imagined. Some are even better than I am... which is both awesome and infuriating!  One that stands out to me is Nathaniel Rankin.  I watched him grow from a cute, but shy, juggler to a world class magician performing on cruise ships around the world.  I don't take credit for his success -- that was all him -- but I'm glad to have been a stepping stone on his path to finding something that makes him so happy.

    Ben Train, (BenTrain.ca)
    Counsellor in Training: 2000-2001, Staff: 2002-2015

  1. This memory is from 2006.  For the end of the week camper show, Sami S. and I decided to dress up like veteran campers and counsellors, Kelvin and Dustin.  Every year, this eccentric duo would perform the “one-handed card trick” in which they are Siamese twins, joined at the hip where each only has the ability to use only one hand.  2006 marked one of the first years Kelvin was not at camp (but Dustin was) so we did not get to see their jubilant routine.  Instead, Sami and I dressed up like the duo and impersonated them and the one-handed card trick.  It was really goofy, not many people understood what we were doing.  But I distinctly remember Scott Hammell and Magic Mike in the audience laughing uncontrollably.

    This memory isn’t about the moment itself, but about the inside joke shared with the other veteran campers and staff that makes it stand out so strongly in my mind.  The inside jokes are what I remember now; nonsense jokes told around the campfire (knock-knock jokes will always be the funniest for me because of camp), and ridiculous one-liners.  There are moments with sugar shots, fruit stickers on our foreheads, crocket, fridge box racing, pushing Steve Kline in the lake and so many defining “coming of age” moments that bring me back to camp.  There are too many small memories to put one as the best, but the inside jokes between fellow campers and life-long friends are something I hold onto very dearly.

    Lauren Proctor
    Camper: 1999-2008
  2. My favorite memory is when Magic Mike told us that the visiting volleyball camp found an (invisible) deck, and not knowing what it was straightened all of the cards for us. I retell that story to magicians all the time.


    Jonah Babins (JonahBabinsMagic.com)
    Camper, Counsellor in Training, and Instructor


  1. Playing capture the flag with the kids during active time, then one of them realizing that I was the entertainer he watched on stage the night before! He was so excited, then I noticed a few more kids running around with me to beat the game!

    Trevor Watters (TrevorWatters.com)
    Instructor: 2010-2014



  2. I have so very many memories of camp, having been the guy who started it, and having attended every year, that it is hard to pick just one. There really are so many in the 20 years… but one stands out, and is particularly appropriate for this summer.

    I remember the summer 15 years ago when we switched our host camp after 5 years at another camp.  It was an amazing summer, as everything felt new again. The energy (which is never lacking at Sorcerers Safari) seemed to be ramped up that summer in everyone, staff and campers. Exploring the new grounds, and meeting new challenges really made everyone bring their ‘A’ Game. It was great.  The move was extremely positive, making me that much more excited to see what our move will bring this summer.

    Magic Mike Segal (SorcerersSafari.ca)
    Camp Director: 1996 - 2016

The 2016 season of Sorcerers Safari will run from Sunday August 7th through Friday August 12th, 2016.  For more information, or to register, please visit SorcerersSafari.ca


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