2023: Year in Review for PYCA

Phoenix Youth Circus Arts has had another great year! We had more classes, events, camps, and students than ever before. I want to take this time as the year draws to a close to thank everyone that has made this possible and encourage you to help out with a year-end contribution. We make our programs available at reasonable cost to the sponsors of our programs and usually at no cost to our students. Our programs have excellent equipment and are staffed by wonderful artist-coaches. We can do this only through the generosity of friends who understand how important quality youth development programs are, and who choose to help underwrite what we do through their generosity. We hope you, too, can be a PYCA partner this year.

Here is the link!  DONATE TO PYCA!

It’s hard work. We load and unload mats and equipment every day because we bring the circus to where the kids are. And we try to connect socially and emotionally with where the kids are, too. It takes patience and love. Most of our kids have never done a forward roll or juggled anything in their lives – they don’t find any of this easy. Often we are working with students who are dealing with difficult family and personal situations. At one school, among other challenges, a student recently had his house burn down. He says the only thing he is excited about at school is circus club. Every day brings little victories when a child confronts their fear or some imagined limitation and then discovers a power and a talent they didn’t know they had. Some kids at first have trouble focusing and persisting on skills, and then they take part in a show – the confidence that they gain from doing their best and receiving the applause of an audience is priceless.

Here are some of the highlights of our year:

PYCA again is holding weekly classes during the school year at ACCLAIM Academy, Desert Marigold School, Bethune Elementary, Emerson Elementary, and Clarendon Elementary School, and we are again holding our weekly home school class in Central Phoenix. New this year is the summer program and weekly circus club at the Valencia Newcomers School where recent arrivals from all over the world get their first lessons in English and learn how to deal with living in the United States. This program is underwritten by the International Rescue Committee.

Summertime is even busier than the school year. Here’s what kept us hopping:

Five weeks of sold out summer camps in Phoenix and Moab, Utah – A week of day camp for the children of clients of the Arizona Women’s Recovery Center and evening classes for the women – A month-long residency at Clarendon Summer School – Many other school district programs which, in combination with all else, required three crews of coaches to work at three different locations with three different sets of equipment at the same time.

In addition to performances at each school and camp, students from all of our classes gather occasionally for public performances. Among these were the Coronado Home Tour, the Herberger Festival of the Arts, and a halftime show at the Arizona Roller Derby!

The magic we bring to the kids is only possible through the dedication of our coaching staff. Thank you to all: Dave and Athena Davis, Melanie Webster, Kendra Foti, Katherine Coleman, Stevie Smith, and Meagan Carr are keeping the regular classes going this fall.  Heather Barton, Paulina Milligan, Ashleigh Paul, Dan Barber, Tabitha Kelley, Ian Taylor, Cody Williams, Olivia Cabelli, Evelina Tinkelpaugh, Crystal Cruz and Jon Goodell have also pitched in at times and in particular during our busy summer camp season. We also had great teen assistant counselors for our summer camps: Danielle Mahkee, Maya Cabelli, and Chloe Skowbo. I thank each and every one of these for bringing their best selves to our classes, for sharing their skills, and for understanding that what they are really teaching are life lessons our students will benefit from all their lives.

Through the assistance of our fiscal sponsor, TAPAZ, we had some great TV coverage this year – check it out!

The Circus comes to Arizona Women’s Recovery Center

PYCA Phoenix Summer Camp on 3TV June 8 2023

Bethune School Fox10 Oct 23 2023

My sentiments last year about my own role in all of this remain the same: It is a great privilege to be able to bring these fun and enriching experiences to our kids and our community. It is a great privilege to be able to attract other talented people to help out. It is a great privilege to be present for all those “Look what I can do!” and “Look what WE can do!” moments. And it is a great privilege to have people like you that believe in this enough that you share and contribute.

So once again, if you can help, here is the link to make a Tax-free donation to Phoenix Youth Circus Arts  (Tax ID #86-0975231)


Wishing you all the best in 2024,

PS To make a contribution via check, please make it payable to: “Technical Assistance Partnership of Arizona-PYCA” or “TAPAZ-PYCA” and mail to:

TAPAZ / 2020 N Central Ave #720 / Phoenix, AZ 85004 / Tax ID #86-0975231

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