Hi, Prospective CIT!
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Coach-in-Training (CIT) for the Silver Lining Circus Camp! We are happy to support you in developing leadership and teaching skills. Training as a CIT is an important step to becoming a full-fledged Silver Lining Coach.
There are 3 steps you need to take to be a Silver Lining CIT:
1) Read, and understand, the Expectations & Criteria for SLCC CITs and Coaches, below
2) Complete the CIT Application Form. Submit by April 30.
3) Register for Camp as a CIT. [This link is coming soon!]
Expectations & Criteria for SLCC CITs and Coaches
Time commitment for CITs:
Work hours are Monday through Friday of a given week (or weeks) from 8:30am–4:30pm. Coaches and CITs have breaks during the days on Mon-Wed, with more intense days on Thursdays and Fridays for performance preparation.
We do not pay our CITs to train, since this is a service we are offering. However, we don’t charge tuition for CITs either. Just come teach!
How being a CIT helps you become an SLCC Coach:
You must be 14 years old, or in your 14th year, to be a volunteer CIT. All paid SLCC coaches must be at least 16 years old (per the American Camping Association). We require CITs to train for a minimum of 3 camp weeks to become qualified to coach, however we cannot guarantee that CITs will be hired as coaches in the future.
We hire Coaches who demonstrate two critical attributes: your ability to safely teach circus skills, and your ability to teach children.
CITs are evaluated by the Program Director, Camp Director, and the Senior Coaches. Much depends on whether a CIT possesses natural instincts as a teacher or whether he or she must cultivate the necessary sensibilities for coaching. We hope you are applying to be a CIT not only because you love circus, but because you want to teach.
The Camp Directors and Senior Coaches determine which CITs become Coaches based on the criteria below.
SLCC COACH CRITERIA
To be a Coach, CITs must have the basic knowledge to (1) safely spot, and (2) effectively teach, each of the following skills offered at camp: Unicycling, Tightwire, Rolling Globe, Rola Bola, Scarves, Rings, Balls, Clubs, Diabolo, Devil Sticks, Plate Spinning, Feather Balancing, and Human Pyramids--PLUS help campers create circus acts and perform their camp show.
Note that clowning and tumbling/acrobatics are two skills outside of these criteria. These skills require additional aptitude and training to teach, and they are optional for CITs to teach. (SLCC currently does not offer aerials, but we may do so in future summers, at which time CIT criteria will be added here.)
A Coach that is well-rounded in multiple circus skills is more valuable to SLCC than someone who specializes in one or two skills.
(1) Safe Spotting means learning the rules for each piece of equipment and each activity at camp. Camper safety should be your primary concern and requires constant watchfulness. Safe Spotting means safe for the camper doing the activity, safe for the coach who is spotting, and safe for the other campers in the room. Certain tests apply to different circus equipment and must be passed before a camper can “fly solo” without a spotter. Notice and learn the tests for Rola Bola, Rolling Globe, Stilts, and Tightwire.
(2) Effective Teaching means knowing the Silver Lining “cues,” or teaching words and sequences, that are used to convey ideas to people who know absolutely nothing about a skill in order to give them basic proficiency. One of SLCC’s goals is to help each camper gain Achievable Basic Competency in multiple circus skills. A Coach must also be able to help skilled campers reach higher levels of ability.
You are required to attend each rotation. Please watch and copy the Coaches as they teach. Use the same cues, words, and images that they use when helping campers.
Tumbling & Acro:
The body management skills learned in Tumbling and Acrobatics form an essential foundation of all circus work. Coaching basic Tumbling (rolls, cartwheels, simple sequences) and Acrobatics (partner forms) demands extra responsibility of a Coach and is expected from Coaches who work with Silver Lining for several seasons. CITs wishing to coach tumbling/acro should have a background in gymnastics and be confident tumblers themselves.
Clowning is a specialized circus art that differs from juggling, balance, and acro skills. While all SLCC Coaches participate in clown act-making, actual coaching in clowning requires extra responsibility of a coach
SLCC currently does not offer aerials, but we may do so in future summers, at which time CIT criteria will be added here.
Skills in improvisation, dance, musical instruments, and/or other special skills are considered assets but are not required. Coaches possessing extra skills enrich the camp and broaden the camper’s experience. If you have a special skill, be sure to let us know!
Love for Teaching:
An effective Coach demonstrates an affinity for children, showing genuine interest in the campers and a willingness to teach each one as an individual. SLCC coaches take the extra time and give extra attention to campers who have difficulties or are slower to learn, seeking new ways to make the circus skills accessible to everyone.
Focus on the Campers:
The campers need, first and foremost, a teacher to help and encourage them. Coaches and CITs may not “self-train” during camp hours, or engage in conversation or socializing that excludes the campers. Rather, they should turn their attention toward the service of the campers’ learning. Coaches should readily engage with campers and help them feel part of the circus experience.
Role Model 24/7:
A Coach is always a role model for the campers and represents the Silver Lining model of leadership in every way. This includes appropriate dress, clean language, hygienic hair and body care, good posture, and a “We Can Do It” attitude. Appropriate dress means wearing shorts that are not revealing, necklines (for females) that don’t reveal cleavage, and t-shirts that do not have objectionable words or graphics in the Program Director’s opinion. Coaches follow the same camp rules as the campers (no gum; don’t sit on the wire; consequences for saying “Can’t” etc.)
Coaches and CITs have meetings concerning various aspects of a camper’s participation, from medical conditions to behavioral problems. Confidentiality is critical and Coaches must be trusted to keep discussions about campers within the Coaches’ circle.
Youth Protection Training:
We train our staff to recognize signs of abuse or neglect among campers, and best practices for promoting physical and emotional safety. This training is offered at coach orientation sessions.
Cell phones and Timeliness:
SLCC CITs and teenage coaches may not use cell phones in the presence of campers, however they are allowed to use them during breaks, out of sight of campers.
By accepting the responsibilities of being a CIT or Coach, you agree to arrive to work on time and ready to go. Staff who are often late, who do not inform the Director that they will be late, or who have unexcused absences, may lose their job at camp.
Coaches and CITs are called upon to:
take part in warm-up and stretching
teach or assist during skills rotations, using Safe Spotting and Effective Teaching
engage with campers
help with campers' needs during breaks and lunch
be knowledgeable concerning SLCC emergency procedures
assist with camp craft activities (if applicable)
help with daily housekeeping chores (sweeping, bathrooms)
attend end-of-day meetings
direct short circus acts, in a given skill area, with the campers
assist in end-of-camp performance
Thanks again for your interest in becoming a Silver Lining Circus Camp CIT! We look forward to welcoming you to the staff. Now, simply fill out the CIT Application Form and hit “submit,” and we’ll be in touch with you soon.
And here's the CIT Application!