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A Magical Experience

“Pick a card,” he says. The volunteer chooses a card, memorizes it and puts it back in the deck. There is elaborate shuffling and the cards are all mixed up, red cards mixed with black cards, some upside-down. But when he fans out the cards, they are all facing the same way again, except for one card: the one chosen by the volunteer.

It’s an impressive trick and the first one that Joshua Taylor learned as an 8 –year-old boy from a neighbour who was a professional magician. Josh also went on to be a pro, working on cruise ships and various sports franchises worldwide. But Joshua is not merely a magician. He is a bar tender, a photographer, and helicopter pilot. He has served in the military. He worked with the Red Cross responding to victims of the 2004 tsunami and did some missionary work with his grandfather in Kenya. He’s lived in major cities and seen sites off-the-beaten-track all over the world.

Today, Joshua works as a child and youth care worker for Communitas Supportive Care Society, an organization that supports people who live with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges and acquired brain injuries. In Campbell River, Communitas also supports children and youth who require complex care and this is where Joshua serves.

“I love my job. I really enjoy what I do. I don’t ever feel like I’m going to work.” – Joshua Taylor, Communitas employee

It’s a bold statement coming from a man with such an eclectic resume but it is a statement that says a lot about that man. Joshua’s approach to life has been to make the most of any opportunity given to him. He always strives to do and be his best and to make a contribution wherever he can.

“Being of use is one of the most important things,” he says. “Having tools that help me be of use is how I am able to do that.”

So when the opportunity arose for him to settle in Campbell River, he embraced all that it offered him, both the good and the difficult. The move gave him the chance to be with his beloved grandmother before she died. He found work in forestry and learned how to fly helicopters, working within the helicopter industry for seven years before a major career change happened.  A friend told him about working at Communitas and after doing his research and getting the training he’d need, he applied and was hired. Diane Bieber, Communitas’ program director on Vancouver Island, says that she could see right away that Joshua instinctually lived-out the values of person-centred care that is at the centre of how Communitas delivers its services.

Joshua does a card trick with Matty and Chris at a recent Communitas BBQ

“When he told me about doing magic tricks for children who were victims of the tsunami, I realized that he understood right away the importance of engaging with people where they are at,” she says, adding that his love for learning impacts his work as well.

“He is like a sponge and he takes what he learns and applies it to his whole life, not just his work life,” she says.

He continues to make time to pursue the things that give him joy, like taking photos, flying a helicopter, and doing magic. His thirst for learning will never leave him; he is currently learning to play the piano. He feels that he’s found a life-work balance that makes him truly happy.

“I’ve been lucky enough to get to this stage in my life without having any major regrets, which is a blessing,” he says. “I love what I do for work and I love what I do for fun. It feels pretty golden.”

Today, Joshua lives on an acreage with the woman he loves and her two children, whom he also loves. He goes to work happy and comes home from work happy. He is sincere as he says this, there is no sense that the magician in him is trying to convince you of something that is other than what it appears to be. He knows that he’s found something special.

“You know that good feeling you get when you do something nice for somebody and you know it’s making a difference? I get that feeling every day at work. That is magical.”

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