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Camp Head Coach 

About the Organization Circus Smirkus is a nonprofit arts and education organization based in Greensboro, Vermont. Our mission is to promote the skills, culture and traditions of the traveling circus, and to inspire youth to engage in life-changing adventures in the circus arts.  
EOE Statement We are an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.  

TITLE: Camp Head Coach

Department: Camp

Staffing Classification: Seasonal

Reports To: Camp Director & Assistant Camp Director

FLSA Status: Exempt

Last Updated: 2/14/2022




Oversees all circus instruction and related activities at Smirkus Camp. Supervises circus coaches and rigging staff and ensures instructional quality and safety at all times. Backs up coaches when needed to uphold Smirkus training and performing standards. Supports and maintains a positive atmosphere aligned with Smirkus ideals. The Head Coach is a member of the Camp Leadership Team, along with the Camp Director, Assistant Camp Director, Head Counselor, and Activities Coordinator.



Support and Supervision of Coaches to Ensure Program Quality

  • Assist in the hiring of coaching staff.
  • Create daily work, tent, choice time, and rotation schedules.
  • Facilitate daily lunchtime meetings.
  • Orient coaches when they arrive - including job responsibility clarity, coaching trainings, and tent preparations.
  • Substitutes for coaches should it be needed.
  • Manage all coaches and rigging staff including providing support and guidance. Be aware of and responsive to staff morale. Provide encouragement and promote unity among coaching staff and with all camp personnel. Communicate concerns and accomplishments to the Leadership Team.
  • Observe each tent team on a regular schedule. Help coaches succeed by providing ongoing feedback and strategic assistance. Conduct written evaluations of coaches twice during the season.
  • Work with the Leadership Team and coaches to create and maintain a clear, concise circus curriculum that reflects best practices and meets the needs of all Smirkus campers

Safety and Emergency Preparedness

  • Oversee the Rigger. Act as liaison between coaches and rigging staff to ensure procedures are safe and efficient. Monitor the safety of all rigging and equipment and its use.
  • Maintain and update the Rigging Log Book, either personally or via delegation.
  • Take the lead on safety procedures for circus-related activities. Communicate and enforce safety standards..
  • Ensure that staff are trained on proper spotting and injury prevention techniques.
  • Review and update protocols to ensure preparedness for accidents, medical emergencies, or tent evacuations. Monitor weather when there is a thunderstorm risk.


  • Conduct daily coaches meetings. Participate in daily counselors meeting and all general staff meetings. Be approachable and maintain open communication with all staff.
  • Participate in Leadership Team meetings to share feedback and help make decisions. When needed, communicate the Team's decisions and rationales to coaches and other staff.
  • Check in with the Head Counselor daily about camper concerns. Promote empathy and mutual respect between all coaches and counselors.
  • Create and distribute all schedules for instruction of circus skills, and adapt them as needed.
  • Represent and explain Smirkus values, methodology, culture and safety procedures to parents and stakeholders when needed.


  • Serve as the administrator on duty on a rotating basis with other Leadership Team members.
  • Source and purchase props and equipment within budget as directed.
  • Follow up to obtain proper reports following any accident or incident in the tents.

Relationship with Campers

  • Set a positive tone and foster the Smirkus ideals of goal-setting, hard work, persistence, humor, and unbridled enthusiasm. Actively promote Smirkus Camp culture.
  • Encourage and motivate all campers equally. Be physically and mentally available to each camper throughout training. Be an inspirational role model to campers in and out of circus class.


  • Coordinate with riggers and coaches to maintain the appearance and cleanliness of the tents.
  • Participate in pre-season planning.
  • Plan and direct set-up & tear-down of tents and proper storage of circus equipment for the season along with the Head Rigger and Camp Leadership Team.

Off-Season Tasks (Optional; compensation is separate from season contract.)

  • Recruit and interview Coach and Rigger candidates, and make hiring recommendations to the Assistant Camp Director, Director of Programming and/or Camp Director.


Position Requirements


  • Familiarity with a broad range of the circus arts; in particular, acrobatics, juggling, aerials, and clowning. A professional performance background is desired.
  • Demonstrated experience in coaching one or more circus arts with youth.
  • Thorough knowledge of best practices in safety and injury prevention in the circus environment.
  • Demonstrated experience in working with children and teens in instructional settings.
  • Experience supervising, supporting, and evaluating staff.
  • General familiarity with circus rigging. Experience with circus tents is a plus.
  • Ability to listen, communicate, and respond to multiple constituencies, to solve problems, and to create “win-win” situations with people of all ages.
  • Ability to relate to and motivate both campers and staff.
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team..
  • Ability to interact with camper parents at dropoff and pickup as an ambassador of Smirkus Camp.



Work involves standing, walking, bending, kneeling, reaching, stooping, hearing, and communicating effectively. Work may include occasional pushing, pulling, or carrying equipment.



Smirkus Camp is a sleepover facility with staff on duty 24/7 when campers are present. Counselors are responsible for camper needs after lights out; and coaches are called upon only in emergencies. Room and board is provided; staff lodging is in shared rooms in the staff dormitory wing. Staff eat most meals with campers when on duty. The Head Coach has a shared office space with Camp administration.



Supervision is received from the Assistant Camp Director and Camp Director.

A Promise of Inclusion

Circus Smirkus celebrates all types of peoples, cultures, and skills to showcase the multifaceted triumph of human abilities, particularly among our youth population. Joining Circus Smirkus – as a participant, an employee, a volunteer, or an audience member – means you belong. And to all who join, Smirkus asks for you to embrace our values and to help us create joy and magic for everyone who encounters a Smirkus program. We commit to providing everyone equal opportunity to shine— both in and out of the ring.



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