Beginnings are the most difficult. I always wonder, what I should say, how can I start? So maybe, I'll represent myself and tell you a little about my work.
My name is Agnieszka Pilecka, I'm 25 years old and I'm from Poland. I studied pedagogy, to be specific: resocialisation. These five years of studying taught me a lot. I wrote master’s dissertation about: "Circus pedagogy as an alternative trend in the resocialisation of minors." I've researched about the positive aspects of juggling and other circus activities. Also I was asking people working with difficult teenagers about alternative forms of learning, socialisation and useful activities. I found out that juggling is good for concentration, coordination, self-esteem and many other difficulties and defects which we should try to change. I wrote all that in my master’s dissertation, because I believe that it's better to prevent than cure, so kids should have more fun activities, so they do fun stuff without taking drugs or committing crime. Of course, they could do both things, but it's safer when they do something healthy as well. Now, after learning a lot and writing it, I've got master's degree in this particular knowledge domain.
But this isn't enough for me. I like to learn and progress all the time. I'm taking part in many courses and got certificates for some of my abilities. For example, I completed the course: entertaining in tourism, where I learned general theory of animation, many animation activities and some other interesting stuff. Few years ago I became a circus pedagog, because I took part in a course, where I broadened my skills, for example: juggling. Yes, I love to juggle. I'm not the best juggler in the world; I'm not even a good juggler. I just really like to do it. And the only thing I like more is to teach others how to juggle and have fun. Also, I like to ride unicycle. This is really good activity, something unusual.
Like I said, I like to teach others to juggle and to do stuff like that. In Poland it's not as popular as in the other countries, I think. People who do activities like this are performing a lot. It's their job. They're standing on the streets when the weather is good and tourists are willing to pay them. They're hired to make shows, generally with fire. I'm not a performer. I'm not too good at this, I'm lazy and the most importantly: I don't feel it. I think it's not an activity for me. I prefer to stand in a quiet place and teach others the basics of juggling. Play with them and just have fun. Money is not my priority in this case!
And what about fire? I like fire, when I want to light a candle or I'm camping and have to eat something. But fireshows? They’re okay to watch it. Some people are doing really exciting things, they're so professional, and it's great! But in my opinion, there is too much fire these days. Everyone wants to burn something, because it's dangerous, exciting, people want some adrenaline. But they forget that juggling could be an art, could be fun without a fire. It's okay, when you do a fireshow, but they are burning everything, even unicycles, because they think it will look better and be more cool. No, it isn't. Not every time. Not every burning thing is better than just usual stuff, activities, and making progress without fire.
In my entire life I was working in many places, but just in this year, I started to do something linked with my education. I'm trainee in therapy centre for addicted children. It's a place, where kids in the age between 9 and 21 are living and trying to find themselves in life. This is place, where they get therapy and help. Many of them felt lonely, abandoned by parents and friends, so they decided to do drugs. Some of them were crime victims and life was not kind for them. Last week I started a course, and in a few years, I'll be a therapist as well, and I could help them, like my co-workers. Now, I'm trying to find them activities, so they understand that life could be fun without drugs. They have to know, that they could do something interesting, cool, and they don't need heroine or other substances to feel good. It is hard, but I believe, that someday, they will understand, that life without taking drugs is possible and it can be pleasant. I thought, that juggling, unicycling, diabolo and that kind of activities is the best way to keep them busy and make them smile. I tried, it worked. They were very, very happy, so was I.
After the first short "lesson", some of them learned how to juggle three balls. Some of them tried something more than only cascade. Many of them were furious about dropping balls. But even if they were aggressive and they left equipment and went home, they were intrigued. Next day, they came to me and asked if I'd try to teach them juggling one more time. Even when they hated it, because it wasn't easy for them, they wanted to learn it, and when they did, they were proud and felt like they could do anything! And I think that they could!
My experience showed me, that kids like to juggle. But at the beginning it's difficult for them. I teach it step by step. First we throw and catch one ball. We throw it from one hand to another as long as they got it. Next exercise is to throw one ball, and when it's in the middle, throw another one to the next hand. Balls are flying and they make invisible "X" in the air. When it's easy for them, we try to do flash with three balls, and then catch it. Later on, we try to do "cascade" – the basic juggling trick. It's my favourite way to teach juggling. And when I've got a group of about ten teenagers to teach it, I started as always with one ball. When we get to two balls exercise, one girl take third ball and started to improvise. She didn't juggle before, but she saw what I'm doing at the beginning, when I showed them what are we going to learn, but it was only a few seconds! This particular girl, learned by herself how to do it. It was amazing how fast she got how to juggle! But even better was the look on her face when she did it. I haven't seen something like that before. She was smiling on the outside and in the inside. She was so happy that it made me smile too. After that she told me, that she doesn't remember if she was that happy ever. She told me, that it's the best thing ever and she didn't know that she could have so much fun being sober. She even didn't imagine that being sober could be that great. It was love at first sight. She wanted to juggle all the time and she is glad that she had a chance to learn it. As you can see, juggling could make people smile and improve their self-confidence as well. She believed that she was unique and she learned it before anyone else even tried to do it. I was glad to see that look on her face when she realised it! I hope more people will get it and be happy because of juggling!
Few years ago I was going to teach juggling in a place where kids are from poor families. They go there and play with others, and do something healthy, something alternative, so they won't make the same mistakes as their alcoholic parents. I wanted to teach them juggling and unicycling, but then I haven't got that much equipment, so I could show them, how to play with it. These days I've got more equipment and more experience. Now I'll try to have some more time, because I'd love to spread juggling fever all over the country, where are kids that need help with finding new, healthy interests, so they'll could live life of their dreams, without drugs. I'd like to make them smile, teach them skills that I've learned. Performances, fire shows, those aren't for me. My life is to teach others and laugh with them, when they get it they emanate with happiness! It's a great feeling, trust me!
Agnieszka Pilecka wirtes her own blog. Please pay it a visit: http://agapilecka.pl/blog/