In June 2022, ISC partnered with Langston Centre of Johnson City, Tennessee, to produce a series of multicultural storytelling workshops. This three-day program helped ISC establish an excellent working relationship with Langston and set the stage for a deeper collaboration in 2023.
Each year, under the umbrella of Johnson City Parks and Recreation’s summer programming, Langston offers a wide range of free day camp experiences for local youth. These camps are organized by theme and subject—“a camp for every kid” to help young people stay active and engaged. The ISC-led workshops were woven into Langston’s “Latinx Explorations” camp, which was open to any kid interested in learning more about life in Latin America. These folk art sessions added an important and topical dimension to the camp’s existing focus on food and current events.
ISC’s workshop leader was the multitalented storyteller and educator Carolina Quiroga, who was born and raised in Colombia (and now lives in the United States). In addition to a distinguished career in performance, Quiroga earned her master’s degree from ETSU’s storytelling program and hosts a bilingual podcast, Tres Cuentos (“Three Stories”), about storytelling and Latin American literature. She specializes in Colombian and Latin American folklore, mythologies, and ghost stories, which are intimately linked with historical events and cultural traditions from many Spanish-speaking countries.
Leading approximately 30 kids (mostly ages 9 to 12), Quiroga designed one-hour sessions to slot into the Latinx Explorations camp. She shared a range of folk and fairy tales, staged interactive games, and organized educational and engaging activities to encourage students to learn about Latinx culture. In addition to modeling storytelling as a fun way to learn about different (and, to some, unfamiliar) cultures, her sessions emphasized cultural appreciation, community building, and traditional knowledge.