Finding our Forever Home

Hello Smirkus Family,

Last night, Smirkus camp staff, Greensboro friends and Smirkus family participated in the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony under our Big Top, Mama Mia. In true Circus Smirkus style, the counselors and coaches back-flipped and tumbled into the ring, balanced on each other in a pyramid, and juggled to open the ceremony. There was an energy in the air that everyone could feel, from the fire hula hooping (by yours truly!), the passing of the fire torch, the wire balancing act, to Smirkus Executive Director Ed LeClair announcing “Let’s cut that ribbon!” the crowd cheered, clapped and even shed some tears as the smallest child in the tent cut the ribbon.

The smallest child in the tent cuts the ribbon to usher in a new era of Smirkus history

This is no ordinary summer in Smirkus Camp history. For the first time in our 25 years of spreading circus magic to youth of all ages, Smirkus Camp has a permanent home on 30+ acres of beautiful Northeast Kingdom hilltops. Complete with brand new dorms for our campers and staff, Smirkus Camp’s forever home in Greensboro, Vermont (just 4 miles away from Smirkus Headquarters), is a monumental step for Smirkus!

Mama Mia overlooking the hills of the NEK

As Smirkus magic would have it, Smirkus founder, Rob Mermin actually house-sat the property’s old farmhouse back in the 1980s, when Smirkus was just a seed of an idea. Now this 135 year old farmhouse and the attached barn are our permanent stomping grounds! How wonderful that Smirkus Camp’s 25th Birthday celebration coincides with the opening of our permanent camp location. We cannot wait to fill this piece of earth with memories, happiness, and laughter for summer 2015 and beyond.

The entire camp staff, myself included, feel so blessed to be here this summer, to be able to create this magic, share it with campers, and to usher in this new era of Smirkus Camp. As Ed LeClair moved us to tears at the ceremony, “The power of circus is the power of being able to transform the mind of a child. The power of Smirkus is that our counselors and coaches catch that feeling and say “You belong.” This community, this Smirkus Family, is made possible by you. Thank you.

The power of circus is the power of being able to transform the mind of a child. The power of Smirkus is that our counselors and coaches catch that feeling and say “You belong.” -Ed LeClair

And who is the voice behind the tent flap? My name is Hannah Stanton-Gockel and I am privileged to be blogging for you as the Smirkus Camp PR intern for this very special Smirkus summer. I am an Ohio University graduate with degrees in Spanish and International Business. Originally getting my start in the Cincinnati circus scene during college, I specialize in hula hoop performance and had the pleasure of fire hooping at the ribbon cutting ceremony last night. My love for weaving stories both on stage and off led me to develop a hula hoop oriented Youtube channel, Hula Hooping Hannah, where I shoot, edit, and upload original content. In turn, this brought me into the realm of marketing for the Cincinnati Circus Company and, because it was time for another adventure, to Circus Smirkus!

I'm so happy to be a part of this Smirkus story!

I’m so happy to be a part of this Smirkus story!

You will see my work featured regularly this summer on the Circus Smirkus Instagram, Youtube channel, on our Facebook page, and of course, on this blog. For extra goodies and hula hoop-specific musings, subscribe to my Youtube channel and keep up to date on everything Smirkus! Looking forward to sharing the magic of Smirkus with you this summer!

All the best,

“Kid, you’ll move mountains!”

– Dr. Suess


About Hula Hooping Hannah

Hannah Stanton-Gockel is a graduate of Ohio University, a fluent Spanish speaker, world traveler and a hula hoop circus performer who devotes her life to story-telling both onstage and off. With a focus in marketing and the guts to venture anywhere, Hannah currently works as the PR intern for Circus Smirkus in Vermont. You can follow her as she finds her purpose in this circus on Instagram @hulahoopinghannah.
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One Response to Finding our Forever Home

  1. Lorraine Miller says:

    Hi Hannah,
    I am also an OU graduate (class of ’85!). My daughter, Annalise, is in Session 1 camp right now. Tell her I said “Hi”!

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