KAMLOOPS — They haven't run away from home, but 17 kids have joined the circus in Kamloops.
The group of 5-18-year-olds were participating in the Kamloops Circus Camp this week, held at South Sa-Hali Elementary.
The young participants showed off some high-flying new skills for friends and family during the final fay of camp, put on by Vancouver based Visions Oest Productions, and Quebec based Les Transporteurs de Reves.
Instructor Benoit Ranger says it was a show that almost didn't happen.
"We heard some news that Kamloops is full of smoke, with the fire over there," Ranger said. "So everybody was aware, and very scared. Myself also."
Ranger says he eventually came to the conclusion that the camp would provide an opportunity for local kids to be active indoors, away from wildfire smoke.
However, in its third year, the number of participants was down.
"A full camp is 24, this year we were 17," Ranger said. "We were close to having a full camp, maybe next year we're going to have a full camp. The community of Kamloops is very kind with us and all of the school district. They've opened the school to me."
Ranger was one of the founding members of Cirque du Soleil and says the Circus Camp he now runs is his way to give back for a successful career.
"People helped me on the road, showed me a lot of tricks," Ranger said. "Now it's my turn to give back, and I dedicate my life to education now. So, the camp has given me the opportunity to tell the kids how to work together. Because, the program itself is a binary system, 50 per cent is how to be a good person, and the other 50 per cent is learn the skills."
Next year Ranger is planning to choose talented children from all over B.C. to do a large scale performance in Vancouver.
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