Network Origin Story
*This page is in the process of being updated – please come back soon*
History of the Social Circus Initiative
In 2015, AYCO launched a multi-year initiative to support growth in social circus across the USA.
Phase 1 drew to a close in February 2016 and achieved the following objectives:
- Provided organizing support for social circus programs within AYCO
- Established good practices for social circus programs
- Recognized social circus programs that currently employ good practices
- Identified needed capacity-building assistance for social circus projects
- Created a plan to provide this assistance
- Developed materials to help social circus programs to build capacity
Learn more about the initiative here, in a slideshow presented at the AYCO Festival in August 2015.
The AYCO Social Circus Impact Study launched in October 2016. This is a research project, conducted by the David P Weikart Center for Youth Program Effectiveness. The study involves 8 Social Circus Network members over the course of one year. Measurements include observation by external evaluators, assessments by program staff and youth questionnaires. Results will be available in Q4 2017. The project is jointly funded by Cirque du Soleil, the James E and Diane W Burke Foundation and participating organizations.
The 2016 American Circus Educators conference included a specially designed Social Circus track, based on the needs expressed by Network Members. We held 15 sessions in this track including:
- Three-part series on goal setting, data collection and evaluation
- Cultivating individual donors
- Panel on Social Circus challenges
- Circus and Occupational Therapy
- Circus and Accessibility
Cirque du Soleil provided a three-day pre-conference training for Program Directors, focusing on developing systems to support program growth. This included training in staff and curriculum development.