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Finding Gold and Magic at Smirkus Camp

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Camp Photographer & Communications Assistant Will Ciardelli

What a fun past week it’s been here up at Smirkus Camp! The All Levels One Week camp has just wrapped up after a packed schedule of circus training, dinner dress-ups, and lots and lots of fun activities.

When the campers arrived last Sunday we began with fun icebreaker and get-to-know-you games, which helped introduce campers, coaches and counselors to each other. Soon after, campers were divided into their rotation/counselor groups where the campers and then came together to choose a group name and secret handshake!

The days began bright and early with a hearty breakfast and the traditional morning run and our group warmup to get everybody ready to tackle whatever the day would bring! Our campers went into rotation groups going to either our aerial and juggling tent Mama Mia, our acrobatics tent Natalie, or our clowning tent Ruby to learn new drops, tricks, and funny gags! Many people jumped at the chance to climb the Chinese pole, do tricks off of the mini tramp and slide across the sliding table. Other campers found a passion for learning new juggling tricks with props such as balls, clubs, and even cigar boxes and diabolos! There was also the opportunity to learn new moves on the fabric, lyra, and trapeze in their aerial time.

We had so much fun running different afternoon activities such as Gold Rush which was clearly a favorite for the majority of our campers. In Gold Rush, campers are to find pieces of “gold” and “silver” scattered around campus, but sometimes the only way to get them is to do a task offered by a wandering traveler or by winning a hand against a saloon card player. They were then to bring their winnings and rewards to the banker who cashed their points which would help them to win and then send them back off. On top of wandering travelers and card players, there was an escaped convict which our poor Sheriff had misplaced and was offering a heaping reward for their return. Campers had to chase down and capture the escaped prisoner and bring him back for their reward which wasn’t easily done!

After our afternoon activities, we all gathered for our themed meals called Dinner Dress Up. We had dress-up themes such as “Dynamic Duos,” “Fantasy Characters,” and even “Dress like your Counselor.” Many campers went all out for every opportunity they had because we chose a winner for every dinner dress up and their prize would be to eat first the next meal!

Nearing the end of our week the campers began preparing acts and their favorite tricks to present at the showcase we held at the end of the session. When parents came flooding into the starting place in Mama Mia they were excited to see their young ones, but then were really blown away by the new abilities and tricks the campers had learned and were proud to show off.

Everybody crowded the clowning tent laughing at the gags created by the campers calling back to classic gags done by clowns throughout circus history! Campers also showed aerial skills high in Mama Mia. It was such an incredible experience to watch all of these campers not only grow more comfortable around each other but to see the comradery and teamwork formed in rotation groups and the camp as a whole. We hope that every camper carries home the magic they found at Smirkus Camp and spreads it as they go through their next adventures.