The Magic of Camp Ooch

“Brush up on your old tricks and learn some new ones as a group of real,
professional magicians reveal some tricks of the trade.
The day will end with a magic show for your friends and families,
where YOU will be the star.”
-Camp Oochigeas “Wacky World of Wizardry” brochure

On November 2, 2013, Camp Oochigeas and Magicana once again, joined forces to deliver their annual, one-day fall workshop packed with magical happenings and laughter, called, The Wacky World of Wizardry. Led by Julie Eng and assisted by magic coaches, James Alan, Joe Culpepper and Suley Fattah, participants spent the whole day learning sleight-of-hand wizardry in order to offer a magic showcase for their families and friends at the end of the day.

We were thrilled with the result! With an Alakazam here and a Hocus Pocus there, the participants put together a wonderful showcase and shared the magic of the day.

Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer-based organization that provides year-round programs for children affected by childhood cancer, including the unique and exciting opportunity to experience the wonder of camp. Every year, Magicana teams up with Camp Oochigeas to deliver a modified My Magic Hands workshop, designed to reach out to kids using magic as a teaching vehicle to build their confidence and public speaking skills. The team at Camp Ooch is pretty amazing themselves, bringing about a wonderful partnership to support the young magicians.

Thanks to the volunteers and our My Magic Hands team, the day was full of magic and success – one that we will surely remember as it is marked by mirth, mystery and delight. We hope to share this experience with you again, next year!


From a Magic Coach’s Perspective

Teamwork makes it happen. L to R: Salma Kassam, OT, Volunteers Aneesha Nair and Aletheia Chiang and magic instructor, Julie Eng.


We have just finished two amazing sessions with Holland Bloorview, with the help of the hospital’s staff and two incredible volunteers, Aletheia and Aneesha. Magic Coaches are truly the essential element that contributes to the success of our workshops. The mentorship and encouragement participants receive during their sessions are certain to endure beyond the performance of their Big Show. These are relationships both participants and magic coaches carry  as they continue their journeys in life and magic.

We had the pleasure of learning about the experience of two magic coaches, Aletheia and Aneesha, summed up in a blog entry. We are proud to share Aletheia’s writing and hope it inspires others into volunteering.

Aletheia writes:

Following the success of Magicana’s 4-week My Magic Hands workshop at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in March, our team of “Magic Coaches”, program leader, and Occupational Therapy staff, continued with another set of 4-week one-to-one sessions in April. Our aim was to provide individual one-to-one support to a smaller group of young participants–(some new, some returning!)–as they learn new magic routines and tricks, and in the process, develop and apply many fine motor, cognitive, speech, and interpersonal skills.

In these one-to-one sessions, participants learned the various components of new magic routines at a comfortable pace customized to their skill level and ability. Our team worked to create a quieter, more focused environment where more attention was paid to each participant’s developmental and therapeutic progress in the learning and performance of the magic routines. Furthermore, they developed interpersonal growth through peer-to-peer interaction, group support, and mutual encouragement.

At the end of each session, our young magicians had the opportunity to perform the magic trick of their choice to a warm audience that consisted mostly of family members and fellow peers. The art of performance is an important component of magic, and touches on key life skills such as self-confidence building and public speaking. For some of these participants, who would otherwise shy away from public performance in a larger group, these one-to-one sessions gave them the chance to perform for those closest to them, in an intimate and small setting they could be comfortable in.

With many new, young magicians of April’s one-to-one sessions now becoming graduates of our program, we look forward to the next opportunity to share the wonder of magic within the community! Many, many thanks to the special tutelage of the program’s lead instructor, Julie Eng, and Salma Kassam, Occupational Therapist staff at Holland-Bloorview, as well as to the focused coaching of dedicated volunteers, for making this unique opportunity possible for our friends and family at Holland-Bloorview!

Spring Magic at the Holland Bloorview


We just wrapped up another successful My Magic Hands session at Holland Bloorview Kids Hospital and we could not have done it without the extraordinary dedication of Holland Bloorview staff and volunteers.

A major factor to client success is the incredible individual attention participants receive from our “magic coaches” – aka staff and volunteers. Through focused coaching, participants learn the importance of having a mentor while they learn magic tricks customized to meet their goals. Coaches become the voice of encouragement that is essential in developing their self-confidence and self-esteem – two “must-haves” for the Big Show.

For our last group, what a Big Show it was!

Family members and other hospital staff gathered to watch our magicians perform their magic learned throughout the session. The Big Show was a chance for our participants to shine and show hard work truly does pay off. We are very proud of our graduates and congratulate everyone.

We are so grateful for the enthusiasm, time and effort our volunteers, Aneesha Nair and Aletheia Chiang, have given so selflessly into our program along with the amazing staff of Occupational, Speech and Physical Therapists who made sure our magicians were well rehearsed and prepared. We look forward to working with this team again on our next session and wish them the best of luck on their future endeavours.

Hanging out with Camp Ooch

After several years of partnership, we had yet another successful day-out with Camp Oochigeas, (lovingly nicknamed Camp Ooch) this past Saturday, November 3.

Together with over 27 kids, 11 volunteers and 5 of our own Magicana staff, we filled Ooch’s space with wonder and magic for a whole Saturday afternoon.

Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer-based organization that provides kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer a unique opportunity for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences.


“I just wanted to say thank you so much for coming in to Ooch on Saturday.  I’ve heard rave reviews from campers, volunteers and camper families.  They had such a great day, and learned so many neat tricks!”

-Olivia Tischler, Program Manager In-City


The camp has become an important resource for kids and their families and has grown beyond the summer days of camp. For their fall program, Ooch  introduced: Wacky World of Wizardry to encourage youth to participate in honing their motor skills, communication skills and creative problem-solving skills by learning a variety of magic tricks using classic magical props: ropes, cards and ball vases!

We know these kids face immense challenges, and so we are so inspired to see how hard they work despite these issues. We know that our campers would not have had as much fun nor success as they did if it wasn’t for their dedicated camp volunteers, “Magic Coaches”, who provided personal and supportive encouragement each step of the way.

We ended the day with a Big Show, where the campers had a chance STAR in their own show, in front of their families and friends, and show off the tricks they learned that day.

Special thanks to the volunteers who helped us with the workshop, as well as Julie Eng, James Alan, Joe Culpepper, Suleyman Fattah and Ellise Ramos for donating their Saturday afternoons to make My Magic Hands happen.

We look forward to the next year and may magic and wonder continue to be shared all around…