Safety is Job One!!!
In the United States, there is a group that is meant to support anyone who teaches circus. That group is called the American Circus Educators, or ACE. Very recently, they have begin a program for providing safety consultations to schools, teachers, and more. I have been honored to be selected as one of these safety consultants. Along with Jonathan Deull, Delbert Hall and others, we will be assisting organizations in making their training techniques and facilities as safe as is possible, to protect our young performers and provide encouragement in keeping safety as a top priority. To learn more about the ACE and the consultants program, read below.
The ACE Story
The American Circus Educators Association was formed in 2014 as a branch of the American Youth Circus Organization(AYCO) and is dedicated to supporting circus educators. ACE is the trusted authority when it comes to all things circus education and is the primary source for professional development, networking, and information about circus education for anyone identifying as a circus parent, teacher, educator, coach, program director, or administrator.
ACE currently offers the following:
ACE and AYCO
AYCO, the parent organization of ACE, has been serving circus educators since it’s founding in 1998, when the main form of circus education in the USA was catered towards youth. Since 1998, circus has gained in popularity and students range in age from toddlers to elders and everything in between. As a result, AYCO formed ACE in order to better serve the emerging circus education community. AYCO is now dedicated to distinctly serving young people and their supporters through a variety of youth focused programs.
For those of you who know and love AYCO, it’s important to assure you that all of the programs and opportunities that AYCO has been providing for the past 15 years are still alive and well!
Although AYCO has “youth” in it’s title, the only direct services we have been offering to youth are our youth circus festivals. The direct service offered to adults and educators have been much more substantial. Our online network, professional development opportunities, magazine, social media, and newsletter have all been catered towards adults.
It’s become clear that the best way to serve youth and educators is by doing so distinctly. We’ve shifted all of the community and networking programs that you know and love for adults to be housed appropriately under ACE, and made a strong commitment to serving the diversity of circus educators under that branch. As a result, we are now able to truly serve youth through AYCO—which means new services catered towards young artists and practitioners and their supporters. AYCO has been re-imagined to include a circus swag box membership perk, youth authored e-newsletter and blog, a new website that is youth friendly, increased showcase opportunities, and all of the national and regional events we’ve always produced. For more information about the distinction between AYCO and ACE programs visit our FAQ. To visit our AYCO website, click here.
Circus education has evolved over the centuries. Traditionally skills were passed down through family lineage or bestowed through an apprenticeship model. The past 100 years has seen the development of pedagogy and training techniques offered to students through circus schools, organizations, performing companies, and individual coaches and educators. The present day circus student can be virtually anyone- from toddlers to elders and everyone in between. From students with a recreational focus to those hoping to go pro, circus education is inclusive of a diversity of access points. Some of the many approaches included are: youth circus, circus as a tool for social change and therapy, health and well being for adults, professional career development, and artistic expression for all. It is our aim to support the diversity of circus educators through our professional development offerings, safety project, and community network.
Overview of the Safety Consultant Group
ACE’s Safety Program is made possible by the ACE Safety Consultants Group. The SCG is made up of industry professionals with a passion for the continuing evolution of best practices in the circus arts. They come from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of experiences, but share a set of values that include the following:
- No single person has all the answers when it comes to best practices; in fact, there are no final answers in how we deal collectively with risk management as it relates to circus arts
- Education, not exclusion, is the key to improving practices in the circus arts in the US
- Experts should be paid for their expertise and improving the safety practices in our sector is an urgent need.
ACE Safety Consultants are paid on a freelance basis when they take on an application, perform a site-visit or consult on their area of experience, but not all of the work of the group is paid. Every consultant must apply and be approved by the Board of Directors, based on many factors, including:
- A deep familiarity with the ACE Safety Program, either through an intensive course (offered at national and regional Edcons), or through specialized orientation (in special cases only)
- Must have a wealth of professional experience in some facet of risk management as it pertains to circus: rigging, curriculum or policy
- Excellent communication and technology skills
- A history within the community or ACE as an organization (attending Educator or Youth Conferences) and accompanying references.
This list is by no means exclusive or exhaustive; if you are new to our community but have a wealth of experience and a passion for safety, please send in your application so we can get to know you.
Becoming an ACE Saftey Consultant
If you are interested in becoming an ACE Safety Consultant, please download the ACE Safety Consultant Application.
In the process of filling out the application, you’ll also need to reference the ACE Teacher Training Program Guidelines.
Applications are reviewed on a bi-monthly basis by the Board of Directors; you will hear about the status of your application after it has been reviewed.