International AYCO Youth Circus Festivals

Organization Sponsor: American Youth Circus Organization, The


Program Description

"Truly the AYCO festival was a life affirming and life changing event for all of us. "
The 2007 AYCO Festival was the fourth biennial national conference for the ever growing world-wide movement of youth circus .

The festival included:
Pre-Festival Intensives.
4 days of Workshops!
Performances by youth troupes from around the continent
Discussion groups
Dozens of presenters!
2 Gala performances
Fun filled hob-nobbing!
About AYCO
Established in 1998, AYCO is a nonprofit organization promoting the participation of youth in circus arts. AYCO enriches the youth circus community, through trainings, festivals, publications, and our website:

We are a resource organization that:
Produces the international AYCO Youth Circus Festivals and educators' conferences;
Fosters communication and networking among circus arts organizations, youth, and educators;
Provides circus arts organizations, youth, and educators with training procedures, including guidelines for risk management;
Provides support and resources for young people wishing to expand their circus education or careers;
Helps youth inspire each other, their families, and their communities;
Provides access to circus related educational materials and equipment.

Come join us! Become a member of AYCO and enjoy these benefits:

The AYCO Festival (Workshops & Gala Performances)
Discounts to other AYCO-sponsored events
Bi-annual newsletter
Informational Listing and Weblink on the AYCO website
"Member News" postings on website
Member Listing on Gala Performance programs
10% Member Discounts on products at the AYCO store
Discount subsciption to Spectacle Magazine.
National and International networking and the joy of community!

Funding Sources: 

American Youth Circus Organization

Strategies For Sustainability: 

We, try to refine the unique gift that each child brings to the circus. It is not enough to carry the tradition of the circus if we exclude the individuality of the child. One of the reasons that the circus is no longer an integral part of the American culture is that circus didn't grow fast enough to keep up with a culture that included television and mass media. If we can draw what is personal from every different group of children we can make the circus new each time we do it.
The AYCO operates an international database. It cost as little as $12.00 for 2 years for junior youth.

Impact Of Program: 

Over 400 youth participated this last festival and attended 29 different workshops. The 2007 AYCO Festival was the fourth biennial international conference for the ever growing world-wide movement of youth circus .

Evaluation Tools: 

Feedback from participants and audience reviews of the 2 gala performances.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

Circus is intrinsically physical. In disciplines like juggling, tumbling, acrobatics, tight wire or trapeze there is a certain amount of physical skill and vocabulary that is necessary in order for the creative process to begin. Once that vocabulary has been established we work with the child to draw their particular spin on the routine. We don't carbon copy routines and then assign students their place in them. We work organically for the development of personal routines.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

When I look at the basic message of TV and pop culture I am sickened. Their consumerist message in always in service of some corporation's bottom line. I am rarely seduced by their program. But what about my 14 god-daughter Chiara? What other messages are available to her? What youth circus offers the greater society is something vastly different. The difference between a McExperience and the real thing.

Length and Stage of Project: 

This organization began in 1998 and has been growing yearly.

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