Curious about the relationship between American Circus Educators Association (ACE) and the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO)? Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the evolution of our organization.

Q. What is ACE?

A. ACE is the American Circus Educators Association—a branch of AYCO that was founded in 2014 to distinctly support the diversity of circus educators in the USA. ACE shares a board of directors and staff with AYCO. ACE houses all institutional memberships, professional membership, national and regional circus educators conferences, ACE magazine, ACE News, and the Safety Program.

Q. What is AYCO?

A. AYCO is the American Youth Circus Organization, a non profit organization that has been dedicated to promoting the participation of youth in circus arts since 1998. Starting in 2014, AYCO’s programs will distinctly serve youth and their supporters such as parents and enthusiasts. AYCO offers youth and supporter memberships, sends out tri-annual member circus swag boxes, provides youth showcase and leadership opportunities, publishes the youth-authored Hup Squad Blog, and produces national and regional youth circus festivals. AYCO has a branch called the American Circus Educators Association and also manages the Peggy Ford Paoli Lacey Award for Female Clowns.

Q. My organization was a member of AYCO. Now that ACE has come about where is my affiliation?

A. All institutional memberships (Organization, Partner, Pyramid Partner) are now housed under ACE as well as Professional membership, which was formally called “full membership”. AYCO membership types are “youth” and “supporter” (formally associate). AYCO and ACE memberships are all purchased through the same portal and can be purchased in the same transaction if desired. Members receive mutual benefits on a variety of offerings, including anything related to either branch of the organization. Any partner or pyramid partner who wishes to may have their logo displayed on both the AYCO and ACE websites. Institutional and professional members are free to publicize that they are members of ACE and AYCO if it helps support their mission, fundraising efforts, etc.

Q. How has the membership structure changed?

A.  There are two categories of membership, Institutional and Individual. Institutional memberships are those that are geared towards organizations, schools, or circus companies. The levels are: Organization, Partner, and Pyramid Partner.  Individual memberships are for individual people- the levels are Professional (ACE), Youth (AYCO), and Supporter (AYCO).

The following changes have occurred for individual membership types:

∙Professional (previously Full) now costs $75

∙Supporter (previously Associate*), now costs $55 and is for parents and supporters

∙Youth membership includes youth up to age 21 and college students, and now costs $35

*Former associate members who are circus educators will receive discounts on ACE events until their membership expires at which point you will be encouraged to join at the professional level.

The following changes have occurred for institutional membership types:

∙Organization includes 1 additional free professional membership + 15% off membership code to distribute to all affiliates.

∙Partner includes 2 additional free professional memberships + 20% off membership code to distribute to all affiliates.

∙Pyramid Partner includes 3 additional free professional memberships + 25% off membership code to distribute to all affiliates.


Q. Why do institutional memberships not include bundles of additional memberships anymore?

A. We started to notice that the only people who were joining our organization were those key leaders from organizations plus the few people they were bringing to an event. Very few educators, students, or supporters from beyond the core executive or artistic leadership of the organization were joining. We want to bring all of those folks on board.

The new structure is meant to encourage organizations to join at the institutional level and then engage their affiliates to join via the appropriate individual membership—either as a professional (for coaches and staff) or as a youth (students) or supporter (parents, etc.). We understand that for many people, benefits are what make it desirable for them to join. We are confident that our increased membership perks will encourage more and more people to join!

Q. What happens to the bundle members that were attached to our organization’s membership?

A. All bundle members for memberships purchased through June 10, 2014 have been given a professional membership that expires whenever the membership attached to their bundle expires. At that point each organization will renew on their own and the previously bundled individuals will not automatically renew along with that organization – rather, they will be responsible for renewing on their own at the professional level. The organization can distribute the new perks (below) to their affiliates as they wish.

Q. Are there any new perks for members?

A. Yes!

When it comes to individual members, Supporter and Professional members will receive the new and improved ACE magazine, which has been re-vamped into a 16 page, full color publication. The publication is evolving to bring you more interesting, relevant, and engaging information that is catered towards adult circus educators and will be of interest to circus parents as well. We also have a new and improved map and directory for our members. Youth members will receive the circus swag box filled with custom circus goodies instead of the magazine and can apply to perform in our ever present youth showcases, and to join our Hup Squad Youth Action Team. All individual members have access to a growing list of new vendor discounts in addition to discounts on ACE/AYCO events and items from our online store.

Institutional members will have increased visibility on our new websites, which we anticipate will generate much higher traffic than our previous sites. The new directory will enable us to feature our institutional members prominently in the following order—Pyramid Partner, Partner, and then Organization. Institutional members will be eligible to apply for our safety program, to apply for their youth students to perform in showcases, and to host ACE and AYCO regional events in addition to discount codes to offer to their affiliates.

Q. How does the new e-commerce system work?

A. Check out our online purchasing FAQ to learn all about our new system, Amilia.

Have other questions?

Email info@americancircuseducators.org or amy@americanyouthcircus.org