This Penticton after-school option includes clowning around — on purpose | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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This Penticton after-school option includes clowning around — on purpose

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October 10, 2019 - 8:00 AM

PENTICTON - When you're looking for after school care, you probably want some added value — arts, sports, music, outdoors. 

A South Okanagan program offers something a bit different — circus acts. That's right: juggling, stilt walking, clowning, balancing, partner acrobatics and other games.

Inspire Circus’ Bryce Beckett, who says he co-designed the program with psychotherapist Poe Liberado, says the program actually originated at Kelowna’s Parkinson Rec Centre last spring when Beckett was asked to provide some programming for kids using the facility.

“A circus activity such as partner acrobatics involves kids physically supporting each other," he says. 

Beckett says the program uses circus acts to help children build trust, develop emotional intelligence and learn about communicating and respecting boundaries, which can be important with team work requiring high levels of trus.

Workshops begin with agreements as to how the children are going to conduct themselves and trust each other. As the kids learn to do different skills their interaction with each other is encouraged.

"We talk about asking consent, how it can be revoked, safety and performing to one’s own expectations,” Beckett says.

Beckett says he’s working towards bringing the program into public schools. A couple of private schools have asked him to set up a program for credit in their curriculum, but right now, it’s one step at a time.

“I am motivated to do what I can through play to fortify the spirit and help kids, families, and adults to look inward, listen and take courageous actions,” Beckett says. “I love it when people are having fun noticing the voice of fear in themselves and reprogramming it. I see people developing trust in themselves and respect for each other.”

Inspire Circus also has programs to help create rapid friendships amongst adults, and family bonding sessions.

If you're curious — or if you're in Penticton and want to register — check out his website.   

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