A Magical Experience:
Local Children Discover Magic!

By Layla Farmer

Do you believe in magic? Whether it's as simple as guessing which playing card is in the holder's hand or as complicated as making objects disappear, magic has seemingly been a source of entertainment forever, but Scott Ertl believes its powers reach far beyond simple entertainment.
As founder of the Fun Magic Camp in Winston-Salem, Ertl has opened the eyes of hundreds of children to the wonders of magic. For three weeklong sessions every summer, local children unlock the secrets of magic under Ertl's instruction. For four days, the children hone their skills, ending with a magic show performance for their family and friends on the last day.
Friday marked the second Fun Magic Camp magic show of the season, as the second session came to a close. Fifteen children took the stage, showing off their new skills to a delighted audience of their staunchest supporters.
Many of the children traveled quite a distance to attend. "This is my first time coming to Fun Magic Camp," said Burtie Bragg. Bragg, 12 attended the camp with her sister Taylor, 10. Their enrollment in it was gift from their grandmother. "I came down the mountain and my grandmother was like, 'Hey! I signed you up for a magic camp!' and I was like, 'okay,'" Burtie remarked. "It was kind of surprising."
"It was really fun. I didn't expect it to be as much fun as it was," Taylor said of the camp. "I would recommend it to other kids."
Tyler Sutherland, 7 was also among Friday's performers. "My favorite trick is Money Maker," he said. "You have a big machine and you put paper in it and you can turn it into a dollar. It was fun."
Making sure the children have a good time at the Fun Magic Camp is definitely a priority for Ertl. A former circus performer himself, the values of entertainment are not lost on Ertl. However, he has deeper motives for bringing the camp to Winston-Salem.

"I like doing the magic camp in the summertime to help the quiet kids be able to get some kind of confidence and composure to be able to stand in front of the public, to be able to speak," Ertl explained. "For shier kids, it helps to have something to help initiate conversation. For the other extreme of kids that are really rambunctious, it's a way to help channel their energy to get attention in a positive way."
Ertl began the Fun Magic Camp eleven years ago as part of a larger festival. "I was up in Hancock, New York at the French Woods Festival at Fulman Arts; it's a camp up there," he explained. "A thousand kids come to that camp every year. It's huge."
Although he kept most of the same principles intact, Ertl changed the structure of the camp when he moved Winston and started his own camp six years ago. "This camp is real small. We only have 15 kids at a time," he commented. "I wanted to keep my group smaller so I could have more one on one interaction with the kids."
Ertl has made interacting with children his life's work; the Magic Camp in the summer is only one component. "I'm actually an elementary school counselor over at Marvin Ward Elementary School," he said. "This is my sixth year of doing camp here and I actually just finished my sixth year at Ward."
The final session of Fun Magic Camp ends this Friday with a magic show at Unity Church on Stratford Road, where the camp is housed. When the children take their final bows, the camp will be over, for now. Demand for the camp is high and there's no doubt the camp will be back in full force next year, just in time to beat those summer blues.
Ertl will be there too, eager to mystify entertain and embolden yet another generation of campers. "I love being a part of this camp," he remarked. Why? The answer is obvious-Scott Ertl believes in magic.