We have arrived at our last session of camp, and it is a real tour de force for everyone. From the leadership team who organized and scheduled the three rings of session five: Ensemble, Individual Acts, and Roadshow, to the coaches, who serve as teachers and directors these weeks creating three unique shows. Not to mention the counselors who continue to guide the campers with their leadership and their dynamite personalities and to the campers themselves, all of whom have worked extraordinarily hard to put their acts together in Session V, and it shows!
Speaking of tour de force, Smirkus Camp saw the Big Top Tour in Montpelier this week and had a blast. At the end of the show, Artistic Director Troy Wunderle addressed the crowd to say that a majority of this year’s Troupers started out at camp. Many of the 2016 Troupers, including Jeannette Oubre, Hannah Grove, Jack Miron, Chase Levy, and Graham Reicher, were Session V campers last year. The campers got to see many of their friends perform in the Big Top Tour and enjoyed reuniting with them after the show. Similarly, while returning to Greensboro for the end of their run, the Troupers stopped by and visited camp too.
Even with the incredible level of skill everywhere at camp this session many campers are still here primarily for the camp experience. 17 year old Erika Wentz has been coming to Smirkus Camp for years and she says she comes to camp for the friends and the environment of Smirkus. And there is is plenty of camp culture to go around. From the songs that campers sing in strengthening, to the kickball games filled with base-moving silliness and sidesplitting “distraction” antics, Session V works hard and plays hard.
Camp seems to have the magical ability to meet the needs of all the campers, from those who come to build the skill to become Tour Troupers and professional performers; to those who return year after year to reconnect with their camp friends and live in the magic of Smirkus, and everyone inbetween. There is a place in the many rings of camp, and Smirkus at large, for everyone to succeed and grow. Which, I think, is the reason we all come back year after year.
Your ring hopping blogger,