Scott Chamberlain of the Utah School of Magic was recently recognized with the Golden Wand of Excellence from Discover Magic, a national company focused on empowering children through magic.

Chamberlain, of Eagle Mountain, joined the Discover Magic program in mid-2020 but said that he had been watching the program for a while due to how impactful it is for the children. The curriculum is not just about magic, according to Chamberlain, he said it is about kids growing through magic.

Discover Magic is a curriculum from which magicians teach, which includes a community of over 100 presenters from across the country and even some based internationally.

“Throughout the classes it’s really about trying to get the kids to really engage with everyone,” Chamberlain said. “We talk about making sure that they stand up, they’re making eye contact, they’re introducing themselves to other people, they’re listening to other people and really trying to perform for other people in an engaging way. We talk about kids these days and how they’re just engaged in their devices, and so using magic, we’re trying to get kids to look up from their devices and really engage with everyone around them. Magic is really a great tool, especially in this time, to get kids engaged.”

The eight traits that the program focuses on are being respectful, prepared, enthusiastic, confident, humble, creative, authentic and giving, with all of the work tying back to those points.

At the program’s annual conference this week, Chamberlain found out he had won the award with a fun surprise. Instead of shipping the trophy directly to his house, Discover Magic shipped the award to the Daily Herald where he picked it up on Friday.

“It means a whole lot to me,” Chamberlain said. “The creators of Discover Magic, they do everything they can to make sure that we succeed. They are a huge help and a huge resource for everything I do, so I have to give them a lot of credit for any kind of success that I have in what I do.”

The pandemic has forced Chamberlain to switch to a remote curriculum, which has had its challenges, but he has been a key figure in making that shift possible, according to Discover Magic.

“Doing the in-person classes is what I’m used to,” Chamberlain said. “I’ve been a magician for the last five or six years so when I started teaching the Discover Magic program it really felt comfortable for me. I really enjoy engaging with the kids. When you’re standing there doing a magic trick with the kids, it’s very fun and easy to teach them. Transitioning to doing an online course, it’s very hard to get engaged with the kids over Zoom so there are some things you have to do a little bit differently to make that work.”

When asked about looking forward to hopefully more in-person classes, Chamberlain said that during the annual conference an analogy was used. All of the attendees made popcorn and once the first kernel popped, all of the rest began to pop quickly thereafter.

This analogy was used in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine and a possible light at the end of the tunnel.

“When things open up from the pandemic, we are really anticipating a huge flood of kids that have been inundated with online content wanting to be in person,” Chamberlain said. “I just want to be there when that flood happens.”