Instructor Bryce Beckett teaches Samantha the basics of juggling at Circus Camp in the Naramata Centre on Saturday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Video: Deeper learning through ‘clowning around’

Naramata Centre Society partnering with Inspire Circus to offer Circus and Acro Discovery Camp

The Naramata Centre Society is partnering with Inspire Circus to bring a special Circus and Acro Discovery Camp to the centre for the next five weeks, giving kids and their families an opportunity to have fun and pick up some new skills along the way.

“It’s a chance for children and families to access deeper learning through the setting of circus, and the circus arts,” said Bryce Beckett, the instructor for the camp.

The circus arts, as Beckett describes them, include stilt-walking, tightropes, trapeze, and of course, clowning. The five-week camp started off with juggling and balancing, as well as some clowning exercises, such as mimicry and freeze frame tag.

The context of the circus, and learning the circus arts, is one that Beckett hopes will help facilitate the learning of lessons and topics that would be more difficult if delivered on their own.

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“Into all of these things,” said Beckett, “we’re going to be learning about consent, models about honouring yourself and others, and recognizing opportunities with neuro-linguistics to program new stories for ourselves that allow ourselves to grow to our full potential.”

That growth and the use of neuro-linguistics to achieve it was the start of the camp, although not in a way the children would notice. One of the first things that Beckett had the children do at the camp was to assemble a costume and a persona to go along with it, which he had the children apply traits that they wished or felt they may not have, such as being more outgoing.

Learning through the persona is something that Beckett hopes the children use to learn the circus arts, and with them lessons that they can use to help in all parts of their life. They are lessons and a manner of learning that Beckett himself has used over the years.

“My development has been greatly supported through exploring circus,” said Beckett. “I’ve found the opportunity through my jester character, I’ve developed skills that I’ve integrated into my life for engagement, and confidence. Through the experience of learning to juggle, I’ve discovered skills that are applicable to anything new that is challenging.”

Beckett has been performing in the Okanagan for the past six years, and is a member of Inspire Circus. The Camp started last year in Kelowna at the request of the community centre, and is expanding down into the South Okanagan with the cooperation of the Naramata Centre Society.

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Beckett also leads the Baldy Mountain’s Blue Jays Adaptive Sports program, and he draws on many years of experience working with children and students with all manner of special needs. For the parent of any child with special needs, he is willing and able to do all that he can to help them participate.

“We have training to work with people special needs, both physical and cognitive,” said Beckett. “Everything that we do, we can adapt to suit an individual’s particular needs. We want everyone to feel welcome.”

For more information about Inspire Circus, you can check out their website at www.inspirecircus.com. To register for any or all of the upcoming Circus Camps, or to find more information, you can go to the Naramata Centre Society website.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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