For over 200 years kids have watched circus acts with wonder and anticipation, and not a few have hoped to run off to join it themselves. A popular New York circus camp lets kids do just that without leaving the comfort of home.
Hundreds of kids in New York are spending the summer learning skills like juggling, clowning, and walking the high wire.
Beats spending the summer in front of the Wii. So what’s the draw?
“Not many of my friends can do this,” camper Lindsay Steeg tells the Wall Street Journal. Circus camp is a way to stand out, to try something new, and to have a few great stories to share when school starts again in the fall. But it’s also much more than that.
Youth circus gives kids who don’t enjoy team sports a way to be active, to challenge themselves, and to set themselves apart as an individual. And circus speaks to the artist in some. Jacob Roshkow, 10-year-old son of Strollerderby’s Helaine Olen, says that hopes that circus camp will help him reach his career goals:
The program speaks to the ambitions of Jacob Roshkow, who, at age 10, has his life all planned out: He wants to be an actor and have a fashion line called “J by Jake.” The introduction of aerial arts, he said, could inspire the dancing in music videos he plans to make. “I’ve seen a circus but never thought I’d be in one,” he said, before jumping on a trampoline.
There are also circus camps for at-risk kids and those with special needs. In all, there are 8,000 kids participating in the American Youth Circus Organization, 1,000 of them in the Greater New York Area. As a former kid who failed at every teams sport I ever tried, I give unique camps like this one that challenge kids to compete only against themselves two thumbs up.
Photo: Irargerich, Flickr