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Riverview Theater hosts premiere of All in the Circle documentary

Posted on 27 June 2017 by calvin

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
All in the Circle is a creative arts and nature camp for youth that was started seven years ago by educator and environmentalist AJ Pratt.

On May 18, the Riverview Theater hosted the premiere of a documentary about All in the Circle, made and directed by long-time camper and South High School student Isaiah Bischoff. Bischoff already had three films to his credit when he was approached to make the film by a local broadcast producer and a member of the All in the Circle family, David Howell.

All in the Circle 04Photo left: Film-maker Isaiah Bischoff, age 15, addressed the audience. The t-shirt he wore states the three rules of camp: be kind, be kind, and be kind. T-shirts were sponsored by Gandhi Mahal Restaurant. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“We started working together more than two years ago,” Howell said, “and Isaiah has really grown as a director in that time. The biggest thing I wanted to teach him was how to work with other creative professionals. He’s a pretty incredible kid; he goes to school all day, is active on the track team, has tons of homework, and works on film projects in his ‘spare time.’”

Founder AJ Pratt co-directs the camp with her daughter Erin Pratt, in partnership with an organization called Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light. AJ Pratt said, “The idea for All in the Circle Creative Arts and Nature Camp grew from my belief that children’s natural passions are for exploration. I was lucky in that my own childhood was filled with unstructured play in nature. I always dreaded the sound of the dinner bell, because I didn’t want to go inside.”

In her opening words at the Riverview, camp co-director Erin Pratt said, “The mission of our camp is to create an environment where campers learn to connect deeply with the earth. All in the Circle teaches that each one of us is part of the earth and that we’re all in this together. The issue of climate change is at our core. We believe that all ages of people will naturally care for what they learn to love.”

Other participants in the evening’s premiere at the Riverview were staff member Fatawu Sayiby and his Ghanian dance and drumming troupe. Sayiby brings music, movement and Ghanian culture to every All in the Circle session. Dakota elder Bob Klanderud is also an integral part of the All in the Circle staff. He serves as a cultural leader and naturalist; Klanderud gave the program’s opening invocation.

All in the Circle 01Photo right: All in the Circle Creative Arts and Nature Camp co-director Erin Pratt, pictured left. The camp is made possible by Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, whose belief is that active care of the earth is integral to spiritual life and social justice. Their work brings Minnesota’s faith communities together and provides opportunities for congregations to join the climate justice movement. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

All in the Circle Nature camp for 1-6 graders will take place this year July 10–14 at Theodore Wirth Park. The focus of the session will be to dive deep into the natural world through sensory awareness exercises, nature scavenger hunts, and teachings about belonging, cooperation, and kindness. Story-telling, art-making, drumming, and dance will all be woven in.

Two other sessions of All in the Circle have already taken place this summer: a two-day camp for families, and a leadership development camp for middle and high schoolers. For information about camp this summer or in the future, contact Erin Pratt at erin@mnipl.org.
Film director Isaiah Bischoff closed the evening by saying, “This film documents how All in the Circle combines story, song, and metaphor to teach kids about their connection to the earth, and their need to protect it.”

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