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Wednesday, 18 July 2012 14:41

Lower numbers of Oyen children run off with the circus

Written by  Courtney Smith
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On July 10 to 12, children were able to participate in an exciting, entertaining camp to build their self-esteem, teach them new skills, and involve them in a unique experience.


The camp was the Flying Bob Circus Camp, and it was held in Oyen at the Crossroads Centre for the third year in a row. Sponsored by the Lion’s Club and the Big Country Agriculture Society, the camp was geared towards children ages 9 – 15, with a registration fee of $100.
The camp allowed children to practise various stunts and activities that are seen in a typical circus. The most positive concept of the camp is to show these children that despite their self-doubt of being able to accomplish these activities, they, in fact, can achieve each one by the end of the program.
“It’s a three day camp for them to acquire self-esteem, building skill through unique physical activity,” commented Anne-Marie Smigelski, registrar co-ordinator. “Kids say, ‘I can’t do that,’ but (Flying Bob) says, ‘there’s no such word as can’t; you can’t say ‘can’t’ here.’”
With a positive motto, the camp was entirely absent of discouragement and negativity, allowing the participants to fully dive into each activity without fear of practising it incorrectly or inadequately.
The camp allowed its participants to learn how to use stilts, tight wire, and unicycles. They were also taught how to walk on rolling barrels and how to balance a peacock feather on their fingers. A more difficult circus stunt was the diablo also known as the Chinese yo-yo. This act includes the performer holding two sticks linked by a string on which a spool is tossed, balanced, and juggled in various manners. It is also used by young Chinese performers in Cirque du Soleil performances around the world.
Another benefit of the camp was for the community and parents of Oyen, allowing them to share an event that is not often available to small-town communities.
“The purpose and the goal is that we bring it to Oyen so that parents can have this time,” added Smigelski. “Not everything is available, so we’re trying to make it available and sustain it in our town.”
The camp allowed for 25 children to register. The first year Flying Bob’s Circus Camp was brought to Oyen, the camp filled up right away. Last year, it consisted of 24 participants; however, this year has shown a slight decline in members. July 9 proved to only have 10 children registered at that point. With good weather, various families were out of town those three days.
“Everybody is gone,” lamented Smigelski. “A lot of kids are in swimming lessons at our pool or out of town, and a lot of them are away travelling.”
Despite lower numbers, Smigelski remained confident in the results and positive-vibes created by the camp. Response and feedback has been optimistic over the years, and children appear to enjoy it so much that they return year after year.
“We’ve had really great turnouts,” said Marie. “We’ve had a lot of kids come back even from first year. They’ve gone for a second and third year and have absolutely enjoyed it.”
Building self-esteem, building stamina, and building friendships, Flying Bob’s Circus Camp for children is an event that will hopefully sustain in Oyen’s community. Parents can see its effects on the last day of the camp as children confidently performed all that they have learned.
Flying Bob, himself, also performed that night, giving the children a mentor to look up to — proving hard work can truly pay off.

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