CARLSBAD — Despite a pandemic, laughs are never in short supply.
And for three Carlsbad High School students, they’ve spent their summer putting their improv-comedy group, Wing It!, on display thanks to a grant from the Dragon Kim Foundation.
Eli White, Nathan Lu and Evan Buda, all 17-year-old seniors at Carlsbad High School, applied for the grant last year, won, and have put on numerous virtual improve camps, along with an in-person camp from July 28-31 at the Vista Boys & Girls Club.
“I think improv is one of the most multi-faceted and easily adaptable to any walk of life,” White said. “It teaches how you have to listen, not be afraid of failing … and taking a chance and being yourself.”
The team was awarded $5,000 for being one of the winners, while the foundation’s program provides weekly monitoring, business advice and seed funding. It’s to help launch young entrepreneurs across any and all industries, although the improv group is unique.
Admittedly, White said they “winged” their interview, which the board took humorously took note, but was still awarded.
On July 30 at the Boys & Girls Club (with masks on), White said the focus is on numerous improv games, or exercises, to get the kids involved. It allows the kids to tap into their comedy chops, while Buda said improv also provides other skills such as teamwork, communication, critical thinking and problem-solving.
White said another part of the program is to encourage the kids to be themselves rather than trying to be funny. The games are kept loose and are designed to keep the kids thinking, communicating and letting the comedy come naturally.
“We established virtues that we are very connected by,” Lu said, “and that is positivity, adaptability, creativity, compassion and confidence. We really think that we can spread those virtues.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, technology and burden of school White said kids are losing some of the ability to adapt, which is why the group is working with a younger generation.
Buda said the skills and tools developed by improv has helped him grow as a person and teaches an individual how to flip a negative scenario into a positive one.
“The basics are working with the person and what you’re given,” he added about the games. “In day-to-day life, you have to work with people around you whether you like what they’re giving you.”
As for the Dragon Kim Foundation program, White said the support has been great and has shown them a pathway to turn their group into a potential business.
“The training they’ve given us has been the most valuable,” he said. “We created a plan for our summer camp project. Their whole team is business leaders. They also give a lot of life lessons.”