Teens head to MU to learn storytelling strategies for eclipse

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COLUMBIA - Teens hoping to learn more about next month’s eclipse are attending a camp to learn skills so they can pass along the story of the eclipse.

The St. Louis Storytelling Festival and 4-H Center for Youth and Development are hosting the “Telling the Story of the Stars” summer camp at MU. Teens came to the camp from all over Missouri, and Camp Director Lisa Overholser said there’s even one student from Texas.

Over the course of the camp, campers will first learn the science behind eclipses from MU Director of Astronomy Angela Speck. They’ll then learn oral and digital storytelling skills from Professional Storyteller Sherry Norfolk and MU Digital Media Professor Katina Bitsicas they can use to explain the eclipse in an artistic way.

“Whenever you can use digital and artistic skills and combine them, then I feel like the students are able to use both sides of their brain, and that’s a pretty awesome experience,” Bitsicas said.

Campers will learn storytelling skills like digital stop-motion animation as well as oral techniques from cultures around the world to create projects they can show at the annual St. Louis Storytelling Festival in 2018.

Speck is a local expert on eclipses and said she’s looking forward to working with the teens this week.

“Teenagers have this mixture of disdain but curiosity, and trying to get over the disdain and pull them in, that’s a challenge that I look forward to,” Speck said.

The camp lasts until Thursday, July 20, but these teens will work to perfect their stories about the eclipse until the storytelling festival in May 2018.