Cirque d’Aspen |

Cirque d’Aspen

May Selby
The Wells and Lassalette kids get into the Cirque spirit.

Aspen, CO Colorado welcomed Cirque d’Aspen from Dec. 28-30 as a benefit for the Aspen Youth Center. Though it was the second annual show, it was completely different from the inaugural production in 2005 with all new acts and performers taking to the stage.

Performers traveled from across the globe for the special edition. From Russia to Africa to Colombia to Mexico, they represented a multitude of countries and cultures and still blended together like a great big family.

The beneficiary of the event, the Aspen Youth Center (AYC) is a nonprofit youth organization housed within the Aspen Recreation Center. While many youth centers are solely sponsored through tax dollars, the Aspen Youth Center relies upon donations and other means of funding. As their major annual benefit, Cirque d’Aspen allows the organization to provide quality youth programs throughout the year.

According to AYC executive director Sarah Visnic, statistics prove after-school hours are when youth are most likely to participate in risky behaviors. Statistics also show that in communities with comprehensive youth programs, youth are less likely to commit crimes, get in trouble and their academic performance improves. The Aspen Youth Center has been providing positive alternatives to the youth in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1991. Each day after school the Center offers a variety of clubs from Culinary Club to Science Club or sports tournaments. AYC also has a High School Board that works with staff to create fun activities from a senior graduation breakfast to a sledding night. Open from 6 to 9 p.m., AYC is available to students from ages 8 to 18, providing a fun, safe atmosphere. Whatever activity they choose to participate in, while at AYC they are supervised and are not participating in risky behaviors, making for a better community.

For Visnic, one of the highlights of Cirque is how the event parallels the organization’s mission statement of working with kids and families. “It’s great to provide a successful, unique, fundraising event that includes the entire family and is open for everyone to enjoy,” she noted.

For more information about the youth center, visit, call 544-4130 or drop by at the ARC.