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NGI Recipient: Louisa Pugh

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - Family Week (2011)

Dear CDSS and Pinewoods Camp,

I would like to thank you for granting me a New Generation Initiative scholarship and allowing me to attend Pinewoods Family Week! I am a friend of Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, and when I told them about my hopes to develop as a teacher of traditional music and dance they recommended that I attend Pinewoods Family Week. There I would see other teachers in action.

I turned out to be the only camper between 20 and 30 years old, and among very few adults who had come without any children. This proved to be the perfect environment for total immersion! Rather than taking the dance classes for adults, I spent my mornings visiting children’s classes. From dawn to dark I played the fiddle for children’s dancing, joined in the dances myself, or watched classes inconspicuously from the outside. I got to see a great variety of teachers passing on traditions, and perhaps more importantly fostering a love of the traditional arts.

I also had the opportunity to take a caller’s workshop led by Susan Kevra. This was a great chance to challenge myself to try something new, and learn some technical calling skills in preparation for calling and leading children’s dances.

Three weeks later, I was teaching a fiddle class at another camp to 6- to 8-year-olds. I took the class to the end of their childhood attention spans for playing the fiddle, but afterwards, I found that my bag of tricks was overflowing. It was full of stories, dances, musical games, many of which I had learned or refined at Pinewoods. I had no trouble happily and productively occupying the class in ways that nourished their musicianship, listening skills, and love of living traditions.

I know the training and inspiration I received at Pinewoods have already had a great positive influence on my teaching. I know that I will carry those experiences with me for many years to come. Thanks again for the gift of Pinewoods Family Week!