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«Welcome to Session V – Road Show Sunday, August 2 through Saturday, August 15 As you patiently await the start of a circus-filled summer, please ...»

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Welcome to Session V – Road Show

Sunday, August 2 through Saturday, August 15

As you patiently await the start of a circus-filled summer, please review the following session schedule

and Camper Handbook for important dates and other Smirkus Camp details. To finish the registration

process, please complete your Required Camper Forms on campdoc.com by May 15, 2015, and if you

haven’t already, make your final tuition payment.

Road Show registration begins at 3:00 pm on Sunday, August 2. There will be an optional parent meeting starting at 4:30 pm. Friends and family are invited to attend a performance starting at 10:00 am in the tents on Saturday, August 15 before taking campers home by 12:00 pm.

Please notify us as soon as possible if your child is traveling to and/or from camp via a shuttle service or with someone other than their parent or guardian so that we can plan accordingly.

Important Dates & Times:

Sun., August 2: 3:00 Registration & Move-In 4:30 Camper Icebreakers (& Short Parent Meeting) 6:00 Prepared dinner for campers and staff Sat., August 8: all day Derby Line Community Day in Derby, VT!

Mon., August 10: 7:00 Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour in Montpelier, VT!

Fri., August 14: 4:00 Ensemble Work Performance for family & friends Sat., August 15: 10:00 Road Show & Individual Acts Performances for family & friends

Daily Camp Schedule:

7:00 Rise & Shine 7:30 Breakfast & Announcements 8:05 Morning Run & Warm-ups 8:40 4 Rotations of Circus Classes (with a snack in the middle) 11:30 Strengthening 12:00 Lunch and Rest 1:30 Show Rehearsal/Circus Training 4:00 Afternoon Activity or Show Rehearsal 5:30 Visiting & Dinner Dress-up 6:00 Themed Dinner (superhero, pirate, occupation…) 7:15 Evening Tent Time or Activity (talent show, staff show, etc.) 9:30 Get Ready for Bed Time 10:00 Lights Out & Sweet Dreams Smirkus Camp is located at our brand new permanent facility at 405 Breezy Avenue, Greensboro, Vermont. We look forward to seeing you there!

Please refer to the 2015 Camper Handbook for important information on things to pack, camper responsibilities, mailing letters, directions to camp, summer office contacts and more! To learn more about our programs, visit www.smirkus.org.



2015 marks Smirkus Camp’s 25th year and the inaugural summer for our brand new permanent camp facility here in Greensboro, Vermont! As if that weren’t enough, we’ve also got a brand new Camp & Residencies Director, Bill Merrylees, who is thrilled to join the Circus Smirkus team and is full of exciting plans for budding circus kids and camp parents alike!

Circus Smirkus is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 to promote the skills, culture and traditions of traditional circus arts, inspiring youth to engage in life-changing adventures. At Smirkus Camp we emphasize the concentration and commitment required to pursue any art form in a casual and noncompetitive environment, while encouraging realistic goal setting and striving for accomplishment.

Our goal is to teach circus and life skills to campers while providing a safe and fun place for kids to be themselves.

Smirkus Camp is located in Greensboro, VT, just four miles away from our World Headquarters at the Circus Barn and where we’ve launched our Big Top Tour for 28 years. Greensboro is a small town nestled in the a magical area of Vermont called the Northeast Kingdom. Check out the “Plan Your Visit” section of our website at smirkus.org/smirkus-camp/visit to find a wealth of information including suggestions on where to stay and what to do while you’re in the area.

In this handbook you will find important information for parents and campers alike to help ensure that every Smirkus Camp session is full of mail, clean socks and smiles!


Smirkus Camp Mailing Address:

–  –  –

Campers do not have access to telephones or the internet at camp. If you have concerns regarding your camper or need to relay a message to him or her, please contact the Camp Director. We check messages throughout the day, including weekends, and will return your call as soon as possible.


Your kids are going to have the time of their lives, and we want to make sure to share it with you!

Smirkus Camp has historically provided access to the “Smirkus Camp CIT (counselor-in-training) Blog” through which parents can read about daily camp activities, as well as find access to camp photos.

Updated nearly every day during the summer, it has provided an ongoing, fun and informative glimpse into just what it is that goes on at Smirkus Camp. In an effort to improve everyone’s Camp experience this year, Smirkus is making changes to the way we present content such as blog posts and photos.

We’ll be in touch just as soon as we can with all the details on how you can enjoy full access to each and every blog update of the summer. Stay tuned!


Pack these items:

Sleeping bag or twin-sized bedding (sheets and blanket) & pillow Twin-sized mattress cover or fitted sheet.

Towel and toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc) Closed-toed shoes or sneakers (for running, unicycling and stilting – not Crocs or high-tops) Clean socks and underwear for every day at camp (it doesn’t hurt to bring extra ☺) Clothing for every day at camp (long workout pants, shorts, t-shirts & a sweatshirt) Raincoat or poncho (in the likely event that it rains, rain boots are also recommended) Swimsuit and towel (for pie day festivities and water days, if applicable) Prescription medications (in camper’s name only) to be given to nurse at registration Black pants, leggings or shorts to use as a costume for the end of session performance (not required for Smirkling Camp) Session V Campers should also bring a black t-shirt, tank top or leotard Kids who read in bed may like to have a clamp-on light Oscillating fan, night light and your favorite teddy bear!

Other things you can pack, but are not necessary to purchase if you don’t already own:

Ballet or dance shoes for tightrope wire; leotards and yoga pants for aerials Juggling equipment (clubs, balls, rings, diabolos, torches…) and/or unicycle Costume items for nightly dinner dress-ups (ex: superhero, pirate, decades) Stationery and postage stamps for writing home, playing cards and/or books for reading during quiet time, musical instruments (not to be played during quiet time), camera, flashlight, CD or mp3 player.

**Labeling your clothes and valuables will help us return lost & found items to their owners**


Please be prepared for a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. Vermont is known for its unpredictable weather: be prepared for hot, cold, wet, dry and everything in between. We require long leggings or workout pants for participating on aerial equipment. Clothing that is too baggy (extra large shirts) or too tight (jeans) will hinder progress on most equipment.

Campers bringing giraffe unicycles, stilts, juggling knives, torches or other flaming objects, as well as fuel must check their props with the coaching staff at registration. These items will be stored in the training area and only used under coach supervision, regardless of the owner’s skill level.


For everyone’s safety, campers may not keep any medications in their rooms or on their person.

All medications, prescription and over-the-counter, must be given to the camp nurse at registration and will be given to the camper as prescribed or as needed. This includes but is not limited to inhalers, vitamins, homeopathic remedies, cough syrups and pain relievers. A medical kit with all camper medications, as well as basic first aid supplies & over-the-counter remedies, travels with the campers at all times, along with the camp nurse.

Please note: We make every effort to work with families to accommodate any significant circumstances (medications, injuries, illnesses, recent death in the family, divorce, relocation, behavioral needs, etc.) but we cannot give your child the necessary support if we do not know the need. Please inform us ahead of time of any concerns you or your child might have.


Cell phones, candy, sugary snacks, soda, electronic games (Nintendo DS, PSP, etc), portable DVD players, computers, refrigerators, knives, pet snakes, etc. These items will be put away in a safe place and returned at the end of the session. IPods or mp3 players are allowed for music only.We also ask that you keep Kindles, tablets and any device that can connect to the internet at home. Our camper environment is free of cell phones and full of life! During downtime, campers enjoy the pleasures of books, journaling, conversation, letter writing, music and much more.

Smirkus Camp’s philosophy on personal electronics: We know that many young people are used to having electronics with them at all times. We are deliberate about excluding them from camp for a number of reasons.

No child left inside. Have you heard of “Nature Deficit Disorder”? It’s a catch phrase for the phenomenon where a huge number of American kids are staying indoors on electronics, and not getting the exposure to and comfort with nature that their parent’s generation had experienced. Our hilltop campus in Greensboro Vermont is a beautiful location where nature abounds. We want our campers to experience this.

Healthy use of free time. living life unplugged at camp sets the stage for more physical activity and for active involvement in camp social life, two of the things that make Smirkus Camp fun and memorable.

Adequate rest for active kids. Sleep and down time are key ingredients of a positive camp experience.

Electronics may be a part of everyday life these days, but this is not everyday life - this is Smirkus Camp!

We want all of our campers to be with us in the here and now, fully involved in the fun, games, learning, belonging and the crazy joy of circus on our beautiful hilltop in Vermont.


Going to Smirkus camp, or any sleep-over camp, is an early step towards independence for your child.

Overnight camp is a fantastic way for kids to develop self-reliance in a nurturing, safe, supportive, and in our case, zany environment created just for kids. While many first-time campers may have concerns about being away from home before camp starts, we have found that nervousness evaporates within the first few hours here, and is replaced by excitement and happy immersion into all of the great activities going on. But we know that it can often be more difficult for parents, driving away from the big top wondering: Will she be able to sleep? Will she eat? Will she be happy? You love your child - it’s natural that you would have worries such as these.

The experts say that children need to learn how to find their way through situations on their own, to learn to make decisions and problem-solve, independently of their parents. This helps them to develop the confidence to become self-reliant adults. So good on you for providing this positive developmental experience to your child! Knowing camp is beneficial may not always make it any easier for you though. We suggest the following steps you can take before and during camp that will help you feel comfortable while your child is away having a blast with us.

1. Before camp, encourage your child’s independence by arranging sleepovers with grandparents and friends. Discuss what camp may be like beforehand and visit www.smirkus.org to see pictures of happy Smirkos in action.

2. Remember the facts about Smirkus camp. We have been serving kids and families for 25 years. We have a camper-to-staff ratio of 3-to-1, and over half of our campers each year choose to return again. Our staff is experienced and highly trained; our coaches are professional circus performers. We put safety first, and have been held up as a model of camp safety and quality. 90% of our counselors started as Smirkus campers themselves.

3. Ask questions of our staff. Email any questions to camp@smirkus.org and we’ll be happy to respond.

When you arrive with your child, Camp Director Bill Merrylees will be available to meet you and discuss any particular concerns you may have. Meet your child’s counselor and other staff. Take a tour of our new facility with other parents and a Smirkus Board Member.

4. We have found that phone calls can increase homesickness, rather than alleviate or prevent it. Thus, kids do not have access to phone or internet during the camp session. Make sure your child understands this. We encourage campers and parents to send written letters, or arrange for a care package. If there is a vital message for your child, please call the camp office and we will pass it to your child. Likewise, if there is any information or essential message that your camper has for you, we will contact you promptly.

Smirkus camp may look on the surface like fun and games, comedy and chaos... and it is! But the foundation for the magic that happens here is mindful program design, and a staff committed to creating a physically and emotionally safe place where kids can learn new skills, make new friends and be unique, self-reliant young people. We take our responsibility for your child’s welfare very seriously, and we have fun while doing so. We are kid people who know how to create happy campers!


Campers are expected to be mindful of the following rules and responsibilities:

1. Be respectful! Be kind to your fellow campers and their stuff, the camp staff, Smirkus Camp, the circus tents & equipment and most importantly, yourself! Please refrain from inappropriate language, touching and/or subject matter.

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