I guess we’ve officially become a circus family. This summer the kids packed up for an overnight camp with Circus Smirkus. If you’re not from the Northeast, you may not be familiar with Circus Smirkus, so a quick history. Circus Smirkus was founded in 1987 as a traveling youth circus based in Vermont. The kids, who are incredibly talented, put on a wonderful show each year. What many people don’t seem to know is that in 1990, Circus Smirkus started a separate camp where kids can build their skills and have a ton of fun in the gorgeous town of Greensboro, VT. This year, Circus Smirkus opened their new camp campus (?!) and Bug and Lady Bug were there to get in on the action.
Although the kids were nervous for their first overnight experience away from family, it’s hard to not get excited when you see all of the tents ready and waiting. We had opted for Smirkling Camp, which is just one night and two days. It’s a nice starter experience for kids who haven’t stayed away from home (or, in our case, family) before.
This is one of the two new dorms. I love how they look so natural in the Vermont setting.
When we arrived, we were given a number for registration (sort of like the deli) and asked to wait in the space between the dorms. The kids were invited to try out some of the juggling props. Once our number was called, we went into the dorm to check in, get checked for lice, drop off medications, and get room and counselor assignments.
Bug ended up in a quad with two other boys. He nabbed a top bunk and we laid out his sheet and a sleeping bag.
The rooms have bureaus and desks. They’re pretty plain otherwise. The one thing the kids didn’t love was the concrete floors. Luckily, they had flip flops to wear as they walked around in the evenings.
LadyBug was in a double with one other camper. She also nabbed the top bunk, much to her roommate’s chagrin. We got her set up before we did a bit more exploring.
While most of the dorm space is quite plain, there is still whimsy to be found. I suspect that will continue to evolve over time. I can’t imagine these walls staying blank for long in this crowd! Each dorm has one main meeting area in the middle, as well as smaller lounge areas down the halls. I doubt they used the space much in the short time my kids were at camp, but I can see kids gathering to play games at night or in bad weather during the week-long sessions.
Hydration is super important while at camp so they installed these cool water bottle fountains. Place your water bottle on the platform and it will fill right up. I’d like one of those here.
More circus whimsy… are you under the sea? Maybe the sea horses are flying…
We were given a speech about letting go before our campers (literally) ran off to the tents to begin their work. But then we were offered a tour of the new campus, which I couldn’t resist. Here’s the view from the dining hall.
A view of the 34 acre Circus Smirkus lot. It’s so beautiful there!
Bear with me because I fell in love with the historic building that now houses the dining hall. I was a bit jealous that my kids got to eat there! There’s an upstairs loft, as well as main floor seating.
This is the upstairs space. Look at those beams! I guess some of the staff and counselors will be ducking, but this session of campers were all short enough to walk around with no problem.
The view from the balcony to the lower level.
The balcony has a little reading nook with some books and old paraphernalia from the space’s former life.
Another view from the reading nook. I wanted to move into this loft!
Peeking out the window.
I had to smile at this area, also in the loft. A wagon wheel and a hula hoop. Because of course.
Room for kids to wash their hands.
The warming trays for the food, all of which is cooked outside in a food truck.
This super old flag still flies in the rafters. It sports just 48 stars…
Don’t forget to look up. So charming!
One last view of the first floor of the dining space.
A reminder that Circus Smirkus has partnered with a local dairy to provide grazing space for their cows!
This is the food truck where all of the food is prepared. They managed a lot of different food allergies, including Bug’s. The food was pretty healthy.. lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
A little garden.
This historic building next to the dining hall serves as administrative space and also some staff housing.
So much fun and learning happening in those tents!
The next day, we returned to pick up our kids. They held an expo for us to show off their new skills. LadyBug had fallen in love with the Devil Sticks in juggling, and she invited me over to try them out. Needless to say, I wasn’t all that great with them on my first try, but it was fun to see how excited she was. I’m not posting pictures from the expo because there were too many other kids around, but I will say that I was so impressed at the relationship the coaches had developed with the kids in just the two day session. The coaches all seemed to have a good sense of each camper’s skill level and they were able to adapt quickly and properly spot each child based on their abilities. Since Bug sometimes struggles with his motor skills, I took particular note of this.
The very last part of Circus Smirkus Camp is the chance to “pie” a counselor, staff member, or parent with a pie made from shaving cream and soap. Both kids pied their counselors, but LadyBug had enough left on her plate to pie me as well. I guess that counts as an initiation? She didn’t care that I had had an amazing facial that morning, so how could I say no? Sadly, there’s no picture as proof because I was not handing my camera (or my phone) off to some shaving-cream-coated kid.
The kids loved Circus Smirkus Camp and can’t wait to go back next year (look how happy Bug is with “pie” in his hair!). They’ve decided that they’re ready for the whole week next time. We’ll see…