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Circus camp offers fun, life lessons

Aug. 15, 2014 | By Carley Dangona

Circus of the Kids hosted a week-long camp at the Springfield Jewish Community Center. Pictured left to right Aubrey Daviau, Hannah Keeney and Brenna McAnanama.
Reminder Publications submitted photo

AGAWAM – The Springfield Jewish Community Center hosted a one-of-a-kind circus camp from Aug. 3 to 9 where two students from Agawam took part in the Circus of the Kids (COTK).

Ernest Whitehead IV, age 10, and Brenna McAnanama, age 11, participated in the COTK event that visited Western Massachusetts for the first time.
According to the COTK website, the goal of the circus camp is to teach children teamwork, self-confidence, endurance and self-discipline from the experience of learning, practicing and performing in a circus performance.
“Circus of the kids was wonderful because it allowed kids the benefits of trying new things, building confidence, and challenging themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally,” Louis Lasko, Camp Director and Teen Associate, said.
“My mom saw the announcement in the newspaper,” McAnanama said. “I’ve done gymnastics and thought it would be fun. I love to learn new things.”
The website describes the program. It states, “In this program, we divide 50 to 60 campers into small groups where we work with them one on one. In this setting, the kids learn and practice the arts of trick roller skating, trapeze, fire-eating, Spanish web and other circus routines for a couple of hours each day.
“When they are not doing COTK, they are tackling a broad range of other scheduled camp activities such as hiking, swimming, dramatic arts, dancing and crafts. At week’s end, complete with makeup and costumes, they proudly present a full-fledged, professional circus performance for their fellow campers. The next day, there's a Visitors’ Day show for mom, dad, grandparents and friends,” it concluded.
McAnanama performed on the globe and the triple trapeze. Whitehead performed as a clown and on the mini-trampoline.
“I wanted to do the triple trapeze,” Whitehead said, adding that campers are tested and assigned to acts based upon their physical abilities. “Even if you don’t get something you really want, you end up liking it,” he added.
Both McAnanama and Whitehead describe the experience as “fun” and would return for another year of camp with COTK.
“You should check it out. It’s not like a camp that you’ll always find. It’s different and really fun,” McAnanama stated to encourage other kids.
To learn more about the camp, visit www.circusofthekids.com.

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