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Dear AYCO/ACE/CN and all community circus members:

The Board of AYCO has gone through a process of discernment for the past year, looking at the future of AYCO, the future of youth circus, and circus arts in general. Part of our discernment process has involved the consideration of a merger with Circus Now. Contrary to outside reporting, this proposed merger has not gone through; it is paused. No assets have been transferred; no paperwork has been executed. Read the documents below for an understanding of how this proposed action was intended.

In the process, we have discovered community members who support our idea and others who oppose it; still others who want to hear more. In the interests of transparency and collecting the best thinking we can, The AYCO Board, in association with circus community member Kate Magram, has compiled a series of emails posted to a Gmail address: planning@americanyouthcircus.org. You can see in this document some of the thinking to date of how people are viewing this issue.

If you are interested in understanding the premise of these discussions, please click here for the AYCO Strategic Update and Vision for American Circus documents.

Please click here for many of the collected emails and Facebook comments from interested parties to date. We reached out to as many of the correspondents as we could, but are only sharing the comments and questions from people who explicitly gave us their permission to do so.

At the AYCO Festival this month in Trenton, NJ, Aug 16 – 20, we will be conducting a General Session on Sat, Aug. 19, from 4-6pm to have all voices heard on this issue.

Please read the documents noted above, and respond with your comments to planning@americanyouthcircus.org by August 14.  Please keep in mind that per our By-laws, we are not a voting organization. This is not a vote. We are a community. Your best thinking is needed.

Should you not be able to respond by August 14th, no problem: you can continue to comment at ‘planning’; that url will continue to be monitored. If you want your thoughts included in the meeting on Sat. Aug 19, and/or shared publicly, give us your permission in the first sentence of your comments. We will share it with the facilitator of the meeting and the board, and make it public (but only if you say to). A decision on the ‘new idea’ will be made by Aug. 31st, 2017. That is the cutoff date the board has decided so we can all move on.

Please Respond!…This is a very pivotal and important moment in AYCO’s lifecycle and history!

In gratitude,

The AYCO Board